The NSA gets what it always wanted.

Discussion in 'Apple' started by Alan Browne, Sep 6, 2013.

  1. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    It appears (links below) that while the NSA never got its "Clipper
    chip", in the end they have backdoored many systems and have put
    weaknesses or backdoors into many crypto systems by influencing
    requirements and/or specs.

    They have gained access, keys, unencrypted messaging, etc. by:

    - backdoors in systems sold to overseas ISPs, governments and others
    - direct access to commercial online systems (Google, MS ...)
    - putting weaknesses and/or backdoors into encryption algorithms
    (Trust AES-256 now?)
    - influenceing crypto standards
    - court orders to companies to allow pre-encryption tapping
    - coercion of commercial co's
    - trickery
    - hacking (let's assume they produce some nice trojans of their own)

    and other methods to make sure anything they want to see, they can see.

    They record everything, then decrypt and search for info they want -
    probably why they're building that huge complex in Utah.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/06/u...ncryption.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0&ref=business

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/...-campaign-against-encryption.html?ref=us&_r=0

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/...l-nsa-campaign-against-encryption.html?ref=us

    --
    "Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional,
    illogical minority, and rapidly promoted by mainstream media,
    which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible
    to pick up a piece of shit by the clean end."
    -Unknown
     
    Alan Browne, Sep 6, 2013
    #1
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  2. What I don't understand is why most of this is considered surprising. It
    was all over the news today that NSA has techniques to get around the
    encryption used in Internet communications of ordinary users, such as
    when you're reading your mail or doing electronic banking.

    NSA's business is collecting intelligence regarding foreign countries,
    terrorists, etc. That means NSA is expected to break their codes. Did
    anyone think they were using encryption technologies significantly
    different from those used for ordinary Internet applications? If they
    can break one, they can break the other.

    The issue isn't whether they *can* hack into our accounts -- obviously
    they can. The question is whether they *do* -- that's what laws about
    the scope of NSA surveillance address.
     
    Barry Margolin, Sep 7, 2013
    #2
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  3. Alan Browne

    Wes Groleau Guest

    I don't think this publicity is what they always wanted. :)

    One of the commenters made the best point:
    --
    Wes Groleau

    It seems a pity that psychology should have
    destroyed all our knowledge of human nature.
    — G. K. Chesterton
     
    Wes Groleau, Sep 7, 2013
    #3
  4. Alan Browne

    generic name Guest

    If the NSA was truly interested in "security" for the US, they would
    get after the scammers who send email to try to get people's IDs &
    bank account info & other info so the stolen IDs can be sold to the
    terrorists.
     
    generic name, Sep 7, 2013
    #4
  5. Alan Browne

    Don Bruder Guest

    Do you *HONESTLY BELIEVE* that "they" (Deliberately using the
    conspiracy-theorist's flavor of "they" here, just in case you don't
    notice) will actually obey the laws intended to limit "them"?

    If you do, please get in touch with me - I've got an ethiopian
    princeling I want you to talk with.

    But seriously - Anybody who thinks that the NSA, CIA, FBI, DEA, or
    whichever other government alphabet-soup you prefer isn't ignoring the
    laws that are supposed to limit them is a damned fool.

    Yes, they *DO* tap what and when they want. And the laws can go straight
    to hell. Until they're caught in the act, they do it as a matter of
    routine. On the rare occasions they actually get caught with their hand
    in the cookie jar, the response has been, and always will be a variation
    on a theme of "Huh? We didn't know that was going on! Gosh! That's
    horrible! We'll put a stop to it right away, youbetcha!" a couple of
    flunkies will be trotted out for a show-trial (if things actually get
    that far) and while the media furor is high, they'll be
    ever-so-proper-and-law-abiding. Then, once the frenzy dies down, guess
    what? That's right... Back to doing as they damn well please, and the
    law can go take a flying leap. Until the next iteration, when the same
    shuck and jive will happen.
     
    Don Bruder, Sep 7, 2013
    #5
  6. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest


    While people are sharing some things about themselves publicly, there
    are other things they only share with a very few.

    --
    "Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional,
    illogical minority, and rapidly promoted by mainstream media,
    which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible
    to pick up a piece of shit by the clean end."
    -Unknown
     
    Alan Browne, Sep 7, 2013
    #6
  7. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    It's not about the surprise it's about the details of what they have
    been doing.

    Yes it was the "today" news (yesterday) I was referring to in the links.
    Up until then the notion that they could do these things was not
    known, nor to what degree.

    The NSA wanted the "Clipper Chip" back in the 90's so they could have a
    "sanctioned backdoor" and it was refused. So they've just resorted to
    skullduggery to get what they wanted. And it looks like they want
    everything. One US government agency has the ability to read pretty
    much everything they want.

    It seems they eavesdrop on voice-over-internet (such as Skype though not
    named specifically).

    It would be safe to say that algorithms like AES-256 may have deliberate
    weaknesses that make them crackable by the NSA.

    No privacy. Assume they listen to it all.

    Some say "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear." That
    is the first slippery stone on the slope.
    Except that they are applying this to pretty much all internet traffic -
    incl. US. Recording it all for immediate or future decryption. That is
    domestic espionage. (Reason: terrorists are among us!).
    That they don't seem to heed very well as the Snowden leaks are showing.
    Whether it is phone connection logs or internet traffic they are
    grabbing it all.

    --
    "Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional,
    illogical minority, and rapidly promoted by mainstream media,
    which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible
    to pick up a piece of shit by the clean end."
    -Unknown
     
    Alan Browne, Sep 7, 2013
    #7
  8. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    Sort of parallels the financial industry level of legal compliance and
    applied justice.


    --
    "Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional,
    illogical minority, and rapidly promoted by mainstream media,
    which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible
    to pick up a piece of shit by the clean end."
    -Unknown
     
    Alan Browne, Sep 7, 2013
    #8
  9. Except that they are applying this to pretty much all internet traffic -
    incl. US. Recording it all for immediate or future decryption. That is
    domestic espionage. (Reason: terrorists are among us!).[/QUOTE]

    There are foreigners on domestic soil, and there are foreigners
    communicating with American co-conspirators. You're not going to catch
    some of the critical communications without tapping domestic traffic.

    The 9/11 bombers probably carried on much of their communication
    entirely within the US.
     
    Barry Margolin, Sep 7, 2013
    #9
  10. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    There are foreigners on domestic soil, and there are foreigners
    communicating with American co-conspirators. You're not going to catch
    some of the critical communications without tapping domestic traffic.[/QUOTE]

    Look up what Franklin had to say about this.

    The American public is riding in the NSA handcart at the top of the
    slippery slope. You have no idea what the future will bring in terms of
    depth of privacy invasion.
    Yes - to the point that the CIA knew there was something fishy about a
    bunch of Arabic speakers taking simulator lessons on heavy jets and only
    learning to fly in cruise - nothing about taxiing, takeoff, approach,
    landing ... but the officer was forbidden from communicating it to the FBI.

    But the real point is - all this domestic spying has not really resulted
    in much safety for Americans. Demonstrations of success as a result
    from domestic spying has turned up scant benefits.

    Better to spend the money on health care.

    --
    "Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional,
    illogical minority, and rapidly promoted by mainstream media,
    which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible
    to pick up a piece of shit by the clean end."
    -Unknown
     
    Alan Browne, Sep 7, 2013
    #10
  11. Alan Browne

    billy Guest

    This discussion is wildly off charter, but since I like some
    of the participants, I'll offer this illuminating bit of info.

    http://www.lawfareblog.com/2011/07/what-ben-franklin-really-said/

    | *What Ben Franklin Really Said*
    |
    | By Benjamin Wittes
    | Friday, July 15, 2011 at 6:53 AM
    |
    | Here's an interesting historical fact I have dug up in some research
    | for an essay I am writing about the relationship between liberty and
    | security: That famous quote by Benjamin Franklin that "Those who would
    | give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety,
    | deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" does not mean what it seems to say.
    | Not at all.
    |
    | I started looking into this quotation because I am writing a frontal
    | attack on the idea that liberty and security exist in some kind of
    | "balance" with one another-and the quotation is kind of iconic to the
    | balance thesis. Indeed, Franklin's are perhaps the most famous words
    | ever written about the relationship. A version of them is engraved on
    | the Statue of Liberty. They are quoted endlessly by those who assert
    | that these two values coexist with one another in a precarious,
    | ever-shifting state of balance that security concerns threaten ever to
    | upset. Every student of American history knows them. And every lover of
    | liberty has heard them and known that they speak to that great truth
    | about the constitution of civilized government-that we empower
    | governments to protect us in a devil's bargain from which we will lose
    | in the long run.
    |
    | Very few people who quote these words, however, have any idea where they
    | come from or what Franklin was really saying when he wrote them. That's
    | not altogether surprising, since they are far more often quoted than
    | explained, and the context in which they arose was a political battle
    | of limited resonance to modern readers. Many of Franklin's biographers
    | don't quote them at all, and no text I have found attempts seriously to
    | explain them in context. The result is to get to the bottom of what they
    | meant to Franklin, one has to dig into sources from the 1750s, with the
    | secondary biographical literature giving only a framework guide to the
    | dispute. I'm still nailing down the details, but I can say with
    | certainty at this stage that Franklin was not saying anything like what
    | we quote his words to suggest.
    |
    | The words appear originally in a 1755 letter that Franklin is presumed
    | to have written on behalf of the Pennsylvania Assembly to the colonial
    | governor during the French and Indian War. The letter was a salvo in a
    | power struggle between the governor and the Assembly over funding for
    | security on the frontier, one in which the Assembly wished to tax the
    | lands of the Penn family, which ruled Pennsylvania from afar, to raise
    | money for defense against French and Indian attacks. The governor kept
    | vetoing the Assembly's efforts at the behest of the family, which had
    | appointed him. So to start matters, Franklin was writing not as a
    | subject being asked to cede his liberty to government, but in his
    | capacity as a legislator being asked to renounce his power to tax lands
    | notionally under his jurisdiction. In other words, the "essential
    | liberty" to which Franklin referred was thus not what we would think of
    | today as civil liberties but, rather, the right of self-governance of a
    | legislature in the interests of collective security.
    |
    | What's more the "purchase [of] a little temporary safety" of which
    | Franklin complains was not the ceding of power to a government Leviathan
    | in exchange for some promise of protection from external threat; for in
    | Franklin's letter, the word "purchase" does not appear to have been a
    | metaphor. The governor was accusing the Assembly of stalling on
    | appropriating money for frontier defense by insisting on including the
    | Penn lands in its taxes-and thus triggering his intervention. And the
    | Penn family later offered cash to fund defense of the frontier-as long
    | as the Assembly would acknowledge that it lacked the power to tax the
    | family's lands. Franklin was thus complaining of the choice facing the
    | legislature between being able to make funds available for frontier
    | defense and maintaining its right of self-governance-and he was
    | criticizing the governor for suggesting it should be willing to give
    | up the latter to ensure the former.
    |
    | In short, Franklin was not describing some tension between government
    | power and individual liberty. He was describing, rather, effective
    | self-government in the service of security as the very liberty it would
    | be contemptible to trade. Notwithstanding the way the quotation has come
    | down to us, Franklin saw the liberty and security interests of
    | Pennsylvanians as aligned.
    |
    | NOTE: The article I was writing when I posted this two years ago is
    | available here. [10]http://preview.tinyurl.com/pqjt7x6

    That said - has all this US government snooping gone too far?

    Yes.

    Does, or did, any acceptable alternative ever exist?

    Yes.

    http://www.thenation.com/article/173521/obamas-crackdown-whistleblowers?page=full

    Rather than Franklin, Eisenhower's warning about the
    "Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex" is where
    one's focus (and ire) should be directed these days.

    Billy Y..
     
    billy, Sep 7, 2013
    #11
  12. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    <snip>
    I read that with interest.

    However, I think it's ingenuine to retroactively assign a narrow
    interpretation to what Franklin meant. Franklin was a genius, subtle,
    more that a bit Machiavellian when needed. But also was dedicated to an
    ideal of what the US could and should be - esp. wrt to government form
    and moreso that it not have too much authority.

    Also while he may have used those words in that case I would be
    surprised that he would not use the same principle in many other cases.
    Indeed a seeming variant of the quote was used _earlier_ by Franklin:

    "Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power."
    -Earlier in Poor Richard's Almanac
    -would seem to inspire the later v. used in Penn.

    others...

    "Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing
    the freeness of speech ..."
    - iow he feared nations interfering in free speech.

    "Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom, and no
    such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech, which is the
    right of every man ..."
    - doesn't like impingements on freedom of speech

    Indeed - esp. Lockheed's perfect storm program, the F-35. With jobs in
    pretty much every state, few congress critters will face them down.

    --
    "Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional,
    illogical minority, and rapidly promoted by mainstream media,
    which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible
    to pick up a piece of shit by the clean end."
    -Unknown
     
    Alan Browne, Sep 7, 2013
    #12
  13. Alan Browne

    John Albert Guest

    Don Bruder wrote (very well):
    [[ Yes, they *DO* tap what and when they want. And the laws
    can go straight to hell. Until they're caught in the act,
    they do it as a matter of routine. On the rare occasions
    they actually get caught with their hand in the cookie jar,
    the response has been, and always will be a variation on a
    theme of "Huh? We didn't know that was going on! Gosh!
    That's horrible! We'll put a stop to it right away,
    youbetcha!" ]]

    Would this language, inserted into the Constitution in the
    form of an amendment, help?
    ==============================
    "Citizens protected by this Constitution possess an
    inalienable right to privacy in their persons, business, and
    homes, and while they are in public.

    It shall be a violation of this Constitution for the United
    States or for the several States to violate or invade the
    individual privacy of citizens by use of physical,
    mechanical, or electronic means or by the use of devices on
    land, on water, below ground, or from the air.

    This protection shall extend to all lawful communications
    and acts by an individual citizen or between two or more
    citizens, including content that is spoken, written, or
    electronically transmitted. It shall extend to citizens
    regardless of their location, whether in private or in public.

    The only exceptions will be as governed by the Fourth
    Amendment of this Constitution."
    ==============================

    I think it could be a start. Only four short paragraphs.
    Anyone can read and understand it.

    Neither the Congress, nor the executive, nor the judiciary
    seems interested in protecting Americans' privacy by way of
    the Constitution as it's currently written.

    If the states -- by way of 35 individual state
    Constitutional Conventions (all incorporating the exact same
    language) -- could pass this, it could circumvent the
    federal government and establish a new Constitutional "right
    of privacy" that eminates "from the people" (and not from a
    Vichy Congress that no longer represents us).

    Perhaps it's a futile notion.
    But we've got to start somewhere, to restore the balance of
    the government vs. the people -- and to make "government"
    "of, by and FOR the people" once more....
     
    John Albert, Sep 8, 2013
    #13
  14. You forgot "under water". You also didn't account for satellites, which
    are above the air. Come to think of it, what about devices in buildings,
    towers, etc.? They're not on the ground, nor are they in the air.

    Yeah, that's a quibble, but the spy agencies can, and probably would, use
    those quibbles to get around the intent of the amendment.
     
    Michelle Steiner, Sep 8, 2013
    #14
  15. Alan Browne

    Don Bruder Guest

    "Probably"????


    Sheesh, Michelle, I never saw you as such a hopelessly naive optimist
    before now... ;-)

    And since I'm here, no, John, I don't think it would do a thing. It's a
    neat thought, sure, but let's face it - Life under such an amendment
    would be exactly the same as now - "Huh? We didn't know it was
    happening! Give us a few minutes and we'll flog the everlovin' snot
    outta the rogue agent that was doing it! <out comes some low-level
    disposable flunky who gets chewed to ribbons on-camera> There - all
    better now! We'll never let it happen again! We promise!", then a short
    time later, after the uproar dies down, it'll be right back to business
    as usual.

    Anyone who thinks otherwise is deluding themselves. "The Government"
    (use whichever ominous conspiracy-theorist voice you like when you read
    that) does as it damn well pleases, legal or not, and doesn't give a
    damn until it gets caught in the act. When that happens, there's a big
    show of contrition, a short span of displaying "proper" behavior, then
    it's right back to the same-old same-old.
     
    Don Bruder, Sep 8, 2013
    #15
  16. I am not a seer, nor am I precognitive; I don't know absolutely that they
    will. I do believe that they will, but I don't know it as an established
    fact.
     
    Michelle Steiner, Sep 8, 2013
    #16
  17. Alan Browne

    Don Bruder Guest

    Darlin', it's an established fact (at least, to anybody who hasn't
    managed to outgrow believing in fairy tales such as santa claus, the
    tooth fairy, and the benevolent nature of government) that they *HAVE
    BEEN FOR YEARS*. Do you really, honestly, deep in your heart believe
    that they'd actually stop doing it just because "We The People" decide
    to say "We just made that illegal, so you can't do it anymore"??? Anyone
    who thinks so is more naive than I can begin to even try to quantify.
     
    Don Bruder, Sep 8, 2013
    #17
  18. No, I don't believe that they will stop, but I don't know they will. What
    I believe and what I know aren't the same no matter how fervently I believe
    it.
     
    Michelle Steiner, Sep 8, 2013
    #18
  19. Alan Browne

    isw Guest

    Or simply ignore it, as has already been done with your above referenced
    Fourth Amendment.

    Isaac
     
    isw, Sep 10, 2013
    #19
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