You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘NSA’ category.

If you look across the spectrum of data coming across our feeds, you begin to get a very clear picture of what is going on.

The age of information works both ways… It opens the world to you about everything that is going on. You literally can access to 88% of the world from your hand.

But also through that same open door, it allows the world to see everything that goes on with you.  Granted, there are 7 billion people and the chance they want to find out about you is small.  But if they ever did, your profile is up for sale. Someone, somewhere is going to choose money over morals and hand it over.

Most of us are not criminal and don’t have crimes we are running from. But everyone has a late bill paid, or two.  In today’s world, that late bill can cost you dearly with a lost opportunity you otherwise would have had.  Higher rates today are being paid by you, for something that cost “no one” “nothing” 6 and a half years ago.

Because technology is still newish for most of us, we accept such as necessary for business. We were too busy enjoying its fruits to worry about the aftereffects our indulgences will bring us the following day after.

Now we have reached that point, it seems. And particularly with the political season upon us, we get daily reminders that even benign innocent items in ones past, can be twisted in certain ways to cause us lots of pain and consternation.

My disheveled opponent bought some Tinactin in 2006…  You contracted Athletes Foot, didn’t you?  You were so disorganized in your hygiene behavior that you literally allowed a FUNGUS to grow unmonitored, unrestricted, and unopposed so long, that you had to get medication for it… Tell us why Mr. Disorganized,  should we then take your word over what you say you will do to solve these complicated global problems?  When you can’t even take care of a foot fungus by practicing basic hygiene? ”  (Ted Cruz was the template for that; could you tell)

Never mind that around 15% to 25% of people are likely to have athlete’s foot at any one time… (That’s one out of four on the high end, one out of 6 on the low end.)

But whether any accusation is true or not, if it resonates, then reputational damage is done to the person simply by just being the object of such an accusation. Their time must be diverted to address the issue, which of course takes time away from focusing on issues that really do matter and are far more important.

We are in a world ruled by distortion gamesmanship.  I was so saddened to see that even Hillary has stepped into it now, (being hard on accusations–loose on facts), now that Sanders got a surprising jump in Michigan.  Today one is gamed to distort ones opponent first and often.

Like this guy here... right or wrong he wears the effect of the sucker punch in Fayetteville NC he never saw coming….  Today, he who was punched then escorted out the building, is absolved of all crimes. His puncher has been arrested and I guess (he must have waved off his right to an attorney) is still bragging to all who listen how wonderful it was to cave in a black person’s face.

But by the time that comes out. our attention is long gone and we are hard pressed to remember it… All we do remember is that someone hit someone who based on our previous beliefs, either did or did not deserve it. But that person hit, has this episode virtually attached to his computer-collected profile now until he dies. It’s there for future employers, future co-workers, even future in-laws to exploit to their advantage.

Is this what we bargained for as we rushed headlong into the information age?

Yet it can be fixed fairly easily; you just have to overcome the power of Big Money to make it so.  No you won’t put the genie back into the bottle.  Instead, you capture the genie, then make it pay for the mischief it has done.

Which means you open up information gatherers to lawsuits…. Currently they are protected.  But you allow them to become victims of huge settlements whenever their information goes against what 12 random people sitting on a jury think should be moral and proper.

In doing so, you put the trust back between us and our machines.  Because I really don’t mind if I’m tracked at 1:15 pm March 11th driving though Chik Fil A’s drivethru to pick up some grilled nuggets and delicious waffle fries. (Ok, damn it, I got an Oreo Shake too, IT WAS SMALL!!!!)  as long as I know that no matter who knows about it, it can never be used against me because if it is, I too become part of the upper 1`%…

When we reach that point, we are back where we were when growing up, where our spinster neighbor knew everything about us from peaking out the curtain, but would never tell anyone because she’d then be ostracized for being a spinster neighbor who peeked out of curtains, which in our town was the kiss of death.

The result is that we didn’t do anything really illegal because on that she could tell, but it didn’t hold us back from having fun because there, our secrets were safe….

So if corporations are today allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence election campaigns because they allegedly are “people” too and have certain inalienable rights,  DOES IT NOT STAND ALSO, that they should be accountable for all the unlimited amounts they damage and harm others? With that new badge of citizenship, shouldn’t they also have certain “inalienable” responsibilities?

We all know the answer!  WE, THE PEOPLE, need to open our informational gatherers to the potential of huge lawsuits for when they do wrong… By doing so, we do our very best to insure that very little wrong will ever occur in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

(It may be coincidence; it could be prophecy).

*To RICHARD SNOWDEN

Philadelphia, December 4, 1793.

Sir: I have received, and thank you for the first vol: of the American Revolution. I shall read it, I am persuaded, when my leizure will allow me with not less pleasure because it is “Written in the style of ancient history.” I thank you also for the favorable sentiments and good wishes you have expressed for me, and am etc.

Did our century’s Richard Snowden create the first volume of a new American Revolution? Some feel he did, by exposing that our government’s treatment of privacy was no different from that of Soviet held East Germany….

Actual conversation over April Cookout:

“So do you think the NSA was using the exploit in Heartbleed over the past two years?”

“Did they deny it yet?”

“Why yes, they just did…”

“Well, that confirms it.. They were.”

Governments should not use their offensive cyber capabilities to change the amounts held in financial accounts or otherwise manipulate financial systems….

Think back over the past 3 years…. 

Hmmmm.

 

I really didn’t give this report much respect coming out of the gate for the word-leaked-out, was that it does nothing to stop the NSA’s abuse.   However, I have deep respect for Richard Clarke who was one of the five, so I felt compelled to read the whole thing

Since I’m sure few of you will venture to read the entire report, If something jumps out, I jotted it down below…

1. The United States Government must protect, at once, two different forms of security: national security and personal privacy.

In addition to reducing risks to national security, public officials must consider four other risks:

• Risks to privacy;
• Risks to freedom and civil liberties, on the Internet and elsewhere;
• Risks to our relationships with other nations; and
• Risks to trade and commerce, including international commerce.

We recommend that Congress should end such storage and transition to a system in which such metadata is held privately for the government to query when necessary for national security purposes.

In our view, the current storage by the government of bulk meta-data creates potential risks to public trust, personal privacy, and civil liberty.

We recognize that the government might need access to such meta-data, which should be held instead either by private providers or by a private third party. This approach would allow the government access to the relevant information when such access is justified, and thus protect national security without unnecessarily threatening privacy and liberty.

We endorse a broad principle for the future: as a general rule and without senior policy review, the government should not be permitted to collect and store mass, undigested, non-public personal information about US persons for the purpose of enabling future queries…

We also recommend that legislation should be enacted authorizing telephone, Internet, and other providers to disclose publicly general information about orders they receive directing them to provide information to the government. Such information might disclose the number of orders that providers have received, the broad categories of information produced, and the number of users whose information has been produced…

We recommend that, in the absence of a specific and compelling showing, the US Government should follow the model of the Department of Homeland Security and apply the Privacy Act of 1974 in the same way to both US persons and non-US persons.

We recommend a series of organizational changes.  We believe that the Director should be a Senate-confirmed position, with civilians eligible to hold that position; the President should give serious consideration to making the next Director of NSA a civilian. NSA should be clearly designated as a foreign intelligence organization….

The head of the military unit, US Cyber Command, and the Director of NSA should not be a single official.

We favor a newly chartered, strengthened, independent Civil Liberties and Privacy Protection Board (CLPP Board) to replace the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB)…

We recommend that Congress should create the position of Public Interest Advocate to represent the interests of privacy
and civil liberties before the FISC.

The US Government should take additional steps to promote security, by

(1) fully supporting and not undermining efforts to create encryption standards;

(2) making clear that it will not in any way subvert undermine, weaken, or make vulnerable generally available commercial
encryption; and

(3) supporting efforts to encourage the greater use of encryption technology for data in transit, at rest, in the cloud, and in
storage.

The use of “for-profit” corporations to conduct personnel investigations should be reduced or terminated.

There then follow forty-six recommendations, most of which were mentioned above… They start on page 26 and continue until page 44,  For the most part, these are where the complaints that the report is too soft, lie.  The report states things should be in a certain way, and like the Articles of Confederation, there is no teeth to back them up….  For instance it states we recommend that private third parties turn over data only if it is necessary to the security of the United States… Easily setting up this scenario… “Hi, can you give me info on Ms Murphy.  Appears we have some trousers in some soup…” ” Is it a national emergency?” “Yes, sure is”… “Ok here are all their calls…” Essentially unless teeth are added, this allows the same actions as go on today, to progress further.

Teeth such as:  any third party who gives, or any governmental employee who asks for private confidential information for purposes other than an immediate physical threat to national security, may be sued in court for any damages such misuse of information may cause…. etc…

It is our sincere hope, that one, this power is removed from the government.  Private corporations cannot arrest one in the middle of the night, and that with this data in the hands of private entities, that those private entities are at risk if any wrong information falls into anyone’s wrong hands…

Most of us would still trust our privacy in that scenario…  “What?  Someone just told my spouse I was sexting Miley Cyrus?  Oh well, (sigh) with the judgment of $68 million I’ll eventually receive, I’m much better off if I’m divorced before I receive it… ..”

I heard part of this on Allan Loudell’s noonday news, … the radio was on and I caught just a snippet.  I hope someone will clue me in on who it was who said it….

In discussing spying through evesdropping, he said probably the quote of the year.  

“There was a reason we spied on the Soviet Union.  There was a reason they spied on us.  We didn’t trust each other…….”

He may have gone on, or maybe it was myself carrying the conversation forward in my head…. “but that would explain why the Soviets spied on their own people; why the East Germans spied on their own people, why the North Koreans and the Chinese are currently still spying on their own people…”

They don’t trust their people….

So, the question must be asked. Why does the NSA, or Obama administration, or the Illuminati, or the Galactic Battlestar Cruiser,… whoever it is who makes the big decisions these days, not trust the American people?

For this would not occur otherwise, would it.

Now it stands upon all reason, that if there is nothing wrong with you…. I’ll take your word for it, and there is nothing wrong with me, ..take my word for it… and we are being spied upon…. then there has to be something wrong with the NSA….

Now if we open all our minds, and look at all possibilities, possibility number one could be that they are sinister. They are gathering information to be used against us at a later date, when it suits them.

However there are more logical possibilities. My favorite is that if you give someone unlimited power, and no oversight, they will exercise all capacities open to them. After all, to them, there are no consequences. With unlimited funding, and no oversight, it becomes very easy to say: lets do one better than what we have.

In the real world, when we get ideas like that, someone steps up to challenge us, and if we can’t defend ourselves adequately, .. it simply doesn’t get done. But the NSA doesn’t live in the real world, now do they? In their bubble, once you realise you can suck up all the information out of a state, you build to suck it all up out of all the states… When done, you realize your territories are wide open, so you suck them up too. Basically it is an ongoing process that like cancer, once started will grow unless some outside influence kills it.

Third, these people could just innocently mean well. Having every transaction or conversation on record, even if one does not use any of it, can be very useful if a bomb goes off to backtrack and find who is connected to it…. It would be a shame to launch a missile strike at Russia, when Somalia was the culprit. These phone records would prevent such a mistake from occurring.

So in synopsis, the motivation behind collecting everything could be a) sinister; b) a natural progression because of no oversight; or c) innocently benign and even well meaning.

Those are some of the causes. What are some of the consequences?

Mistrust. As mentioned in my initial thought process, knowing that someone does NOT trust you, makes you immediately question why and therefore not trust them. Everyone who picks up a phone these days, volunteers as a joke mostly, but still volunteers: “Oh, I have to be careful; the NSA is listening.”

That has a chilling effect; just knowing that a stranger is listening. Those elders who are familiar with state-run societies, are familiar with how the Soviets behaved, the huge difference between the West Germans and the East Germans, how much different North Koreans were and still are from South Koreans…. One does not live their lives as fully, when they can be whisked off for something someone thought they heard them say….

Creativity is ruined; productivity dries up; patriotism turns into hatred of one’s country; and thoughts of revolution swill in the air. Consequently, life becomes black and white, devoid of color. Soviet bloc cities were all gray.

Trust is vital. Spying dissolves it.

Currently Europe is serious debating the future of doing business with the US. Knowing the US negotiators have been briefed in advance what the Europeans are going to offer. Safer to make those deals with China; one can still argue in good faith.

And remember all those encrypted banks broken into and money siphoned out of accounts? Everyone suspected Russian criminals. We now know the NSA has had the access codes for years. Of course we’d trust that no one in the NSA would steal money out of Bank of America or Citibank, especially to pay for cost overruns in their data mining efforts. But oops… for some reason… that trust is not there anymore.

So, how can we get that trust back?

A) All those who lied to Congress = fired, goodbye.

B) Remove legal protection for Version, Comcast, ATT, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and all other telecommunications companies that enabled the NSA. If someone gets hurt by information taken and given to a third party, those companies with deep pockets may again be sued. The point is not to hurt the companies, but to make sure they keep a tighter control over what reach they give the NSA. If they can be sued, it will be much tighter.

C) Scale back funding. With less income, less chance to do harm. Even if one eliminated the NSA completely and let the CIA take over the monitoring, we would have more accountability than we do now.

D) Create and ensure that jail time is used for any Federal employee who uses information for reasons other than national security. Really, why ARE we listening to Merkle’s cell phone?

E) Have hearings on the NSA. open its culture to the sun. Let people know the workings that go on. We do for the FBI. We do for the CIA.

The big one is B). If we can just get the telecommications companies to say… “no, unh-unh, too riskey” a huge chunk of spying is removed at once.

The problem is not the government spying on you. The problem is individual members of the government spying on you, then trying to figure how to rip you off…. Americans have the right not to be ripped off….

If the NSA were a company, say like a division of DuPont, and were asked the questions of what did you do, how did you spend your money, what results can you show for our investment, they would have been sold off long time ago….

When computers first started, vulnerabilities were not made public. Instead one alerted the maker of the vulnerability privately, so the bad guys would not find out about it.  But most often, those receiving the alert in secret, would be in no hurry to fix it.

Then vulnerabilities started to became public. As soon as one was found, it was posted and the makers were forced by public pressure to scramble and fix the flaw. So once a vulnerability was found, a temporary fix could be slapped together even if it meant taking the server off line.  Publishing made the Internet safer for us all.

The NSA does just the opposite.  Not only was it collecting data as it passed through its servers, but it has compromised a huge number of user’s computers and phones just like any hacker.  It has the potential to control almost any computer around the globe, according to the most recent release of data coming from Edward Snowden.

It has the unique ability to do so by its strategic location in the middle of the data stream. Many of the “401 File not found”s you have received from what you thought were up-and-running sites,  innocuously came from the NSA according to Snowden’s released data.  Once connected, the NSA then installs it’s own data directing all your flow to its secret servers, first before it gets passed on to where you were intending.

The ease with which your servers are compromised comes from NSA’s collusion it has with Verizon, Comcast, and the other servers who have access to the internal workings of your machine.  This, coupled with back doors manufactured expressly for the NSA, makes any computer susceptible to infiltration.

There is no way your IT guys can block them, because it is so secret.

And that is the problem.  Edwards Snowden left the NSA with tremendous amounts of information, and fortunately decided to make it public.  Computer surveillance has been in effect 10 years now.  One must wonder, how many service technicians working with the NSA, have left with that information, and who have not gone public, but chose to sell it to those to whom such information is important?

What if the Chinese already have all the codes the NSA uses to get into any American’s computer?  (All we have is the NSA’s words that they don’t.  But the NSA has rarely told the truth.)

In other words… because all these NSA codes and methods are top secret, any bad agent possessing that powerful secret, can wreak havoc far longer than he could if the IT community were able to pounce and scramble out a fix right away….

We are now at the point, where cyber infiltration is a far more serious threat to the USA than ragged desert terrorists jumping through hoops of fire in training videos.

The NSA needs to recognize this and turn to the IT community and publish their back doors and vulnerabilities.

It would make everyday spying on Americans much harder, but would protect our system of electronics against a devastating attack.

In layman’s terms, it is much easier to get away with murdering someone in a mountain cabin far from other people, than it is to do so in the middle of a police station…  If everyone is a cop, we are much safer than if we have something we think is a secret, but is turns out it is not.

Balanced against spying on American citizens, i think sealing up the NSA caused vulnerabilities to our system, is a no-brainer.

Snow Den in Winter
Courtesy of the Nature Files

So says the following:

FISA Court:  ordered the government to review for declassification a set of secret rulings about the National Security Agency’s bulk trawls of Americans’ phone records.,” acknowledging that disclosures by the whistleblower Edward Snowden had triggered an important public debate.”

The Fisa court ordered the Justice Department to identify the court’s own rulings after May 2011 that concern a section of the Patriot Act used by the NSA to justify its mass database of American phone data. The ruling was a significant step towards their publication.

It is the second time in a week that a US court has ordered the disclosure of secret intelligence rulings. 

James Clapper:  the director of national intelligence, on Thursday conceded that the NSA is likely to lose at least some of its broad powers to collect data on Americans.

 “As loath as I am to give any credit to what’s happened here, I think it’s clear that some of the conversations this has generated, some of the debate, actually needed to happen.”

In other words, according to the secret FISA court itself, and James Clapper himself, what Snowden did was for this nation’s good and well being.

YOU CAN’T CRIMINALIZE SOMEONE WHO DOES SOMETHING FOR HIS NATION’S WELL BEING.,,,,

Drop the Charges, Now.

There are times when the “rules” are wrong or are put in place to protect “wrong” being done by “wrong” people.  Those times, breaking the “wrong” rules and following a higher moral code, is the right thing to do.

But when a court, and the head of Intelligence both say what you did was good, and was needed, it is impossible for you to prosecute him and not still be… “wrong”….

 

Released today, was information that the NSA was tapping Brazil’s Petrobras, the Brazilian oil giant partly owned by the state of Brazil,

These new disclosures contradict statements made as recently as today,  by the NSA denying espionage for economic purposes.  The disclosures were buried in the Snowden documents handed over to the Guardian, and Brazil’s Fanstastico.

“A top-secret presentation dated May 2012 is used by the NSA to train new agents step-by-step how to access and spy upon private computer networks – the internal networks of companies, governments, financial institutions – networks designed precisely to protect information.  The name of Petrobras – Brazil’s largest company – appears right at the beginning, under the title: “MANY TARGETS USE PRIVATE NETWORKS.”   Besides Petrobras, e-mail and internet services provider Google’s infrastructure is also listed as a target. The company, often named as collaborating with the NSA, is shown here as a victim..”

Additional targets include French diplomats, with access to the private network of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France; the SWIFT network, the cooperative that unites over ten thousand banks in 212 countries and provides communications that enable international financial transactions. All transfers of money between banks across national borders goes through SWIFT.

Petrobras has two supercomputers, both hacked, used mainly for seismic research – which evaluate oil reserves from samples collected at sea. This is how the company mapped the Pre-salt layer, the largest discovery of new oil reserves in the world in recent years.

The obvious conclusion one must make, is that information regarding the world’s largest potential oil deposits were leaked to US firms, allowing them to get to those exact spots,  before Brazil’s Petrobras could make their claims…

Unfortunately this will remain in the realm of speculation, because the Snowden documents do not describe what information was taken.  They just show evidence that the NSA was inside their computer systems browsing around. On those computers listed by IP’s in the Snowden documents,  were the details of each lot in an auction set for next month opening Brazil’s Libra Field, located in the Bay of Santos, part of the Pre-salt Oil Deposit.

The President of Brazil was also direct target of espionage.  She demanded explanations.  Lastly, another document obtained by Fantastico shows who are the spies’ clients – who gets the information obtained: American diplomats, the intelligence agencies, and the White House. It proves that spying doesn’t have as its sole purpose the fight against terrorism. On this list of objectives are also diplomatic, political and economic information.

In response, James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence stressed “that the collected intelligence is not used “to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of – or give intelligence we collect to – US companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line.”

The Brits were much more coy. declaring they do not comment on intelligence-related issues.

 

Breaking stories on the NSA…

New Zealand reveals the NSA used PRISM to capture Kim Dot Com of Megaload a year and a half ago.  Proving that despite all insistence that this would only be used for terrorists, it was not.  It was used to satisfy huge democratic donors (movie studio magnates) after SOPA/PIPA was defeated and pulled.

The Independent broke a story about how the NSA spliced mid-eastern cables to read data from the mid-east.  Remember those cables cut in the MId East say around 2008?  Snowden has commented that he’s never talked to the Independent.  Which means, the UK is now leaking information for two reasons.  One, to possibly show that what they do is vital to fight against terrorism, and perhaps to nudge public opinion against Snowden, and two, since they obviously know the information that is to be leaked, (after all, it’s their’s) …  they are leaking it themselves to control the dissemination of information…. What that means is you shut this unnecessary operation down, then leak it. You shut that unnecessary operation down, you leak it.  That keeps any surprises from catching you off guard….  I’m glad they’re getting smart down the road at Ft. Meade..

Third.  The New York Times now has the tape.  Smuggled from the Guardian, there iw a secure copy in the United States officially.   This is the same New York Times whose editor gleefully stated that Snowden needed to fry, and of whom Snowden, capable of listening to anyone in the world, was definitely afraid of giving information due to leaks back upwards to the White House.  That said, there is really no other paper in the US capable of holding on to such a high risk object, than the New York Times.  We will get some information; but not all.  It is a US paper, and by that alone, is not independent at all to report what it wants.  I would have chosen Der Spiegel. Someone who would read it with outrage.

Total take away is this:

  • There IS massive spying on US Citizens.
  • They know everything about you, and will use it to protect or enhance any corporation.
  • It is stored and can be pulled by anyone with or without clearance at any time so… BE GOOD……

But we knew that already.   Still, it is nice to have it confirmed, so everyone else knows as well.

Is it time to close the NSA down?  What do you think?  Maybe force them to live off their hedge funds for a while?….