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How Tech Vendors Help Governments Spy On Their Citizens

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the let-me-count-the-ways dept.

Government 102

jfruhlinger writes "Most Slashdotters — even those living in democratic countries — would probably be unsurprised to know that their governments are spying on them. But most people are not aware of how complicit security vendors, who publicly work to protect the public from such electronic eavesdropping, are complicit in such monitoring. All this and more is revealed in the latest Wikieaks document dump, the Spy Files."

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102 comments

Ok. analyze THIS. (3, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38244462)

Can you come up and say that wikileaks hasnt done anything useful now ?

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (4, Insightful)

cobrausn (1915176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38244552)

Most people I know (all over the political spectrum) don't say they haven't done anything useful. Most think they could have done their job better and the organization could be more successful if it was more about transparency and whistleblowing and less about Assange and satisfying his ego.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (5, Interesting)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#38244618)

...Assange and satisfying his ego

All that is mass media's (apparently successful) attempt to divert attention away from the leaks and to focus more on the "crimes" of the leakers.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (1)

cobrausn (1915176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38244666)

In this you are likely correct (to some extent). It doesn't help that he has the most punchable face known to man. I dare you to look at it for too long and not feel the urge to start hitting the screen. :-)

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38245718)

Funny, never thought of that. But in terms of "most punchable face" I would say GWB would fit the bill nicely.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38244670)

...Assange and satisfying his ego

All that is mass media's (apparently successful) attempt to divert attention away from the leaks and to focus more on the "crimes" of the leakers.

Yeah. We'll probably, somewhere in the UK Phone Hacking Scandal© find they were feeding some bits to Mighty Evil Masters in government, somewhere.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (0)

Kagura (843695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38246438)

...Assange and satisfying his ego

All that is mass media's (apparently successful) attempt to divert attention away from the leaks and to focus more on the "crimes" of the leakers.

What crimes? All I've seen on the Slashdot comments was a report saying that the government of Iraq requested information on a rumor they received stating that US forces bombed an Iraqi house to cover up a massacre by ground troops. There is no substantive evidence that this is what occurred, and the Iraqi government was requesting information on the rumor.

So even if we ignore that disputed incident, what other crimes were recorded in the diplomatic cables and released by Wikileaks? I want to see them for myself so I can expand my own worldview.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (4, Interesting)

haruchai (17472) | more than 2 years ago | (#38247450)

For starters, there is the "Collateral Murder" video they released - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rXPrfnU3G0 [youtube.com] ; this was after Reuters, who lost 2 reporters in the shelling, were unsatisfied with the "investigation" that concluded it was a legal engagement of war and requested the video from the lead chopper, which was denied.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (2)

Kagura (843695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38248112)

That video is probably the worst Wikileaks example you could bring up! Let's talk about it.

1) I think this was a good video to have released. This is a real leak, and something that probably should be in the open and not hidden, especially when you consider the details of the situation. However...
2) It was an internationally legal military engagement, even without considering the greater context of the incident.
3) Wikileaks released an edited version of this video as its MAIN release (making the unedited version secondary), introducing blatant spin on the editor's part. It's even in the title, calling it "Collateral Murder"! If someone really thinks the edited video is just for brevity and not for spin, you aren't looking at it with ANY sort of objective eye.

I had been a real supporter of Wikileaks up until the release of that video. I didn't agree with the prior leaking of the gate guard and force protection SOPs for Guantanamo Bay or the release of the US Army's equipment manifest for Afghanistan, but I still felt Wikileaks held an important place. None of those things are whistle-blowing actions, but they weren't overly harmful to these parties, either. Yet when they finally get a REAL whistle-blowing video of Reuters reporters to release, they couldn't help but put spin on it. I was shocked at that release and no longer supported Wikileaks after the fact. This ended up being good timing, because then they released two SIGACTS databases and then the diplomatic cables in their entirety, which I couldn't possibly support. You don't release thousands of confidential documents just to get a few dozen risquè cables to the public. That is just irresponsibility or naivety to the extreme.

I call myself a skeptic and an objective person with strong critical thinking skills. I have an open mind, and I really, truly want to see these crimes that are in the diplomatic cables. I'm not talking about "scandalous stuff that you and I both know is going on behind closed doors during US diplomacy"! I want to see actual examples in cables. You have an opportunity to broaden my mind.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (4, Interesting)

haruchai (17472) | more than 2 years ago | (#38250176)

A "legal" international military engagement is not a license for live target practice by the armed forces of a purportedly civilized nation.
The conversation between the pilots and the base clearly indicates that there are no US personnel within easy range of a small bunch of men, only 2 of which appear to be armed. The helicopter is itself in no danger from these men - who were clustered in a circle all facing inward when the firing began. That's a pretty weak battle formation -were they planning a mass suicide? The delay between the sound of the chopper's guns and the bullets' impacts is nearly 2 seconds, which, according to the postings I've seen by guys with combat experience puts the chopper a mile out ( which seems to be standard procedure ) and well out of range of AK-47s and even RPGs. But, while the first set of firing could potentially be excused as there were individuals with weapons, you would really have to burn any "objectivity" out of your eye to defend the firing on the van. I'd be curious to read your explanation as to how that bit of slaughter was warranted. Before you reply, might i trouble you to read http://www.hrweb.org/legal/geneva1.html#Article [hrweb.org] 15 ?

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253368)

Article 15. At all times, and particularly after an engagement, Parties to the conflict shall, without delay, take all possible measures to search for and collect the wounded and sick, to protect them against pillage and ill-treatment, to ensure their adequate care, and to search for the dead and prevent their being despoiled.

Whenever circumstances permit, an armistice or a suspension of fire shall be arranged, or local arrangements made, to permit the removal, exchange and transport of the wounded left on the battlefield.

Likewise, local arrangements may be concluded between Parties to the conflict for the removal or exchange of wounded and sick from a besieged or encircled area, and for the passage of medical and religious personnel and equipment on their way to that area.

I read the GC article you linked. Did you read it carefully, and apply it to the situation at hand? It says nothing about allowing an enemy to pick up their wounded in the middle of a battle. It talks about the assaulting personnel being required to search for and render aid to all wounded they find, "particularly after an engagement". Reading some parts of the GC literally in today's modern battlefield is difficult, and going by the spirit of the law [wikipedia.org] inherently introduces subjectivity to its interpretation, however it is well established doctrine internationally to clear an objective of hostile action before you treat wounded enemies. In fact, as soon as US ground forces had arrived, you can clearly see them giving aid and evacuating wounded in accordance with the GC.

When you walk around in and a clearly and openly armed group in a neighborhood next to where military operations are currently being conducted, sometimes unfortunate things like this can take place. It was an unfortunate incident, but fully within the norms of internationally accepted conventions on land warfare.

Feel free to reply if you like, but I am really not interested in discussing the "collateral murder" incident. I've examined much evidence and encountered many arguments from "both sides", and I feel I have a fairly strong viewpoint on the matter. I'd much rather discuss all the crimes exposed in the diplomatic cables if you can provide examples.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (2)

haruchai (17472) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253788)

Having a fairly strong viewpoint doesn't mean you're right, but it might mean that you've closed off your mind to further evidence.

Yes, I did read and apply it - "AT ALL TIMES, and particularly after an engagement, PARTIES to the conflict shall, WITHOUT DELAY, take all possible measures to search for and collect the wounded and sick, to protect them against pillage and ill-treatment, to ensure their adequate care, and to search for the dead and prevent their being despoiled." It does NOT say that only the winning side has the right save the wounded; no-one in the van was armed, their only concern was recovering the wounded man. Are soldiers incapable of judgment?

But even some who don't support Wikileaks disagree with the military's actions in this incident - here's one from someone who claims to have been in a position to affirm or deny requests to open fire and fought in Iraq: http://blog.ajmartinez.com/2010/04/05/wikileaks-collateral-murder/ [ajmartinez.com]

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38254738)

Yes, I did read and apply it - "AT ALL TIMES, and particularly after an engagement, PARTIES to the conflict shall, WITHOUT DELAY, take all possible measures to search for and collect the wounded and sick, to protect them against pillage and ill-treatment, to ensure their adequate care, and to search for the dead and prevent their being despoiled." It does NOT say that only the winning side has the right save the wounded; no-one in the van was armed, their only concern was recovering the wounded man. Are soldiers incapable of judgment?

You're free to interpret it absolutely literally as it is written. But then leads the extremes where when you injure one person during a battle one or both sides have to stop shooting until the injured person is cared for. That situation is clearly a little ridiculous, but that is how we are supposed to do things if we interpret the GC literally. Since interpreting almost any document literally and using that to make decisions is a really dumb thing to do, I prefer to instead go by the spirit of the law and the very, very firmly established international precedent that the objective first be properly cleared before casualty collection takes place. For example, in a typical assault once they've assaulted through and cleared about 50-100 meters past an objective (neutralizing all personnel regardless of whether they were already wounded or not) they will come back and search bodies and look for intelligence, and at this point any wounded or living personnel found are afforded the medical assistance they are due under Article 15. You may not like it and it certainly violates the literal wording of the GC, but the fact that essentially every military on the face of the planet operates this way makes it de facto legal on the international scene.

Long story short, in the span of just a couple minutes the helicopter fired at some bad guys, then fired at a civilian van that stopped to pick up the bodies (and presumably weapons and evidence), but later it turned out to be a group of reporters (clearly armed) and just a good samaritan Iraqi that had stopped to help them. It sucks and it's unfortunate, but it's not illegal. And I agree this video should have been released by the government when requested of them.

Having a fairly strong viewpoint doesn't mean you're right, but it might mean that you've closed off your mind to further evidence.

I think I've been very clear in each post so far that I'm always open to further evidence, but that's the key phrase... "further evidence". I'm doubtful you can bring anything new to bear on this issue but if you'll scroll up you will see I did invite you to reply with more. I'm just tired of this old topic with no new information, and still nobody has answered my diplomatic cables question. Even your response about collateral murder wasn't an answer, it just happened to be leaked by the same person.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256586)

civilian van that stopped to pick up the bodies (and presumably weapons and evidence)

In your first post you called that van "hostile action". Now you say it was a "civilian van". But why should an uninvolved civilian want to pick up "weapons and evidence"? What weapons and what evidence? There were no weapons. It's established that what they later tried to make into an RPG was a camera, and it was recognizable as such.

in the span of just a couple minutes the helicopter fired at some bad guys

OK. This makes your position clear. A Reuters reporter who is not "embedded", in a country where the US is engaged in a war, and his assistants are bad guys by definition. Now I see why you think a camera is a weapon.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38261284)

Did you not understand the sentence was contrasting the assumptions of the gunship chain of command with the actual, real facts after the incident? I don't want to be rude, but that is perfectly clear to native english speakers.

What weapons and what evidence? There were no weapons. It's established that what they later tried to make into an RPG was a camera, and it was recognizable as such.

They were armed with several AK-47s and one RPG-7, with at least one separate person holding a camera with a telephoto lens. Indeed, you'd be daft to go walking around an Iraqi neighborhood a few years ago without an armed escort. The fact that they were armed and walking around acting suspicious with US troops already taking fire nearby ended up turning this into an unfortunate situation.

OK. This makes your position clear. A Reuters reporter who is not "embedded", in a country where the US is engaged in a war, and his assistants are bad guys by definition. Now I see why you think a camera is a weapon.

That's just fucking rude. I really hope you're not haruchai who forgot to log in, because he's been reasonable this whole time. I shouldn't have wasted my time, because this last quote makes you out to be a troll, straight up.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (1)

haruchai (17472) | more than 2 years ago | (#38299214)

It's a bit disingenuous to suggest that I didn't read the statute and THEN ( okay, in the same message ) imply state that one cannot be literal about it. But, I'll leave aside any argument about "letter vs spirit" of the law or concerning the initial engagement and focus on the truly disturbing incident which even several Iraq combat veterans says was unjustified - the firing on the van. There a lot of bad things to say about the attitudes of the chopper gunners. One of them, possible 2, were just itching to kill more people, especially the cameraman flopping around on the ground - "Come on buddy", "All you gotta do is pick up a weapon". Even if he there was an RPG right next to him, what exactly did they think a half-dead man imitating a dying fish was going to accomplish with his only known target a mile away in the sky, with its guns trained on him? But the request to shoot the van and the permission is what stumps me; it looks like the gunners mention only ONCE that the van might be picking up weapons along with bodies. That I don't see - from the video it looks like the focus is entirely on the wounded; so it's considered an act of war to rescue your own people after fighting? I know there was fighting "in the neighborhood" but it wasn't anywhere near where this group was at, as evinced by the surprisingly nonchalant behavior of everyone at the beginning of the video and the length of time it took for soldiers in vehicles to arrive on the scene. Also, I read that an officer said they were reluctant to move Bradleys into the area for fear of driving over bodies but it seems that happened anyway and the chopper soldiers certainly thought it was worth a chuckle. I've done my share of dirty jobs, none that involved killing although I have had to deal with death; it seems that too many fighting men have yet to learn that some jobs are not meant to be treated as a game or enjoyed.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38313176)

As a former Marine who served in the first Gulf War, I am disgusted that anyone can defend this. We were NOT AT WAR in 2007. So I don't give a shit what you think about the rules of warfare. We were a peace keeping force at that time, which changes the circumstances significantly. It is clear from the recordings that the culture that had taken root within these units was corrosive and the leadership of those units needs to be held to account for it.

You can't blame this on the "fog of war". That is a bullshit excuse. This was bloodlust, pure and simple. This was the result of a military that had completely lost focus on the task and had a clear contempt for the people that they were supposed to be helping. I understand how it gets that way, it is a natural turn of events when you watch your fellow service members die every day. I don't blame the individuals involved (though I do hope they bear the burden of what they did on their conscience).

It is the responsibility of the military and civilian leadership to ensure that discipline doesn't break down the way that it so obviously did here. This happens by having people serve too many tours in a combat zone. It happens by pulling guardsmen and reservist into foreign conflicts so that you don't have to take an accurate budget accounting of the cost of combat. It happens by underestimating the size and scope of the operation you are undertaking. It happens by lying to yourself and your electorate over and over and over again enough times until you believe your own lies.

I've heard the arguments... Releasing this kind of video stirs up anti-American sentiment. Bullshit. Recklessly shooting unarmed combatants stirs up anti-American sentiment. Having an immeasurably high tolerance for collateral damage stirs up anti-American sentiment. Releasing this video just means that we can't stick our head in the sand and continue the "They hate us for our freedoms" bullshit. If the shoe were on the other foot, I would guarantee that the vast majority of U.S. service personnel would end up being "insurgents".

I'm sure you think I am some anti-American asshole for this. Feel free to think that if you choose, but nothing could be further from the truth. I believe that we ARE the greatest country on earth. I believe that, and I enlisted in the Marine Corps, because I hold dear the principles of liberty and human rights that our country embodies. We have not been pure, and we have failed to uphold these virtues from day one. The fact that it took us almost 200 years to truly end slavery is but one of a multitude of our failures. But we have always advanced in the direction of righteousness. When we sugar coat or cover up those failures, whether it is the My Lai massacre the propping up of dictators by over throwing democratically elected governments (Iran, Chile, etc), or acts of wanton and unnecessary violence such as those under discussion, then we violate the fundamental principles that are the foundation for our greatness. That is not Assange's problem. That isn't Wikileaks' problem. That is ours. And we must face it, and correct it, and take every reasonable effort to ensure that we don't repeat it.

I will agree with you with respect to the diplomatic cables, and they lost a fair amount of my goodwill with that one. There was nothing of significance there, IMHO, to justify damaging relationships between countries. Certainly unleashing all of them the way they did was reckless and irresponsible. But no matter how unethical Wikileaks may or may not have acted, it does not change the fact that the actions shown in the videos are indefensible, and have nothing to do with Wikileaks other than the fact that they are the only reason we even know about them.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#38313436)

Small but important note to your comment. It wasn't actually Wikileaks that released all of the cables. That was done by the Guardian newspaper which had been enlisted by Wikileaks precisely because they promised to filter the leaks.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (1)

khipu (2511498) | more than 2 years ago | (#38314714)

We have not been pure, and we have failed to uphold these virtues from day one.

The US has succeeded through practical compromises instead of idealism. You can see where idealism leads by looking at Europe and its wars, as government after government tried to impose its idealized vision of society onto the continent.

it does not change the fact that the actions shown in the videos are indefensible

If we deploy our military, some soldiers are going to violate laws and rape, torture, and murder. It's what happens when you take tens of thousands of teens and twens, hand guns to them, and send them to foreign lands. Talking about whether that is "defensible" is no more meaningful than talking about whether car accidents are "defensible". All you can do is what we always do: reduce the frequency, convict those who are clearly guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, let the rest off the hook, and move on.

You need to decide ahead of time whether the cause you're fighting for is worth the human cost that entails, both to others and to ourselves. In the civil war and WWII, US soldiers committed many such crimes, yet it was worth it. In the case of Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, I think it was not worth it: the US shouldn't have dirtied itself with cleaning up messes it didn't create in the first place, in particular while the nations who created those messes were largely sitting on the sidelines and criticizing us.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256552)

however it is well established doctrine internationally to clear an objective of hostile action before you treat wounded enemies

What do you mean by "hostile action"? The neighbor who tried to help the executed reporter? The two kids in his car? Or the dying Reuters guy himself? There was nobody else around, so one of these has to fit your definition of "hostile action".

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38261376)

however it is well established doctrine internationally to clear an objective of hostile action before you treat wounded enemies

What do you mean by "hostile action"? The neighbor who tried to help the executed reporter? The two kids in his car? Or the dying Reuters guy himself? There was nobody else around, so one of these has to fit your definition of "hostile action".

That part about "hostile action" more directly relates to the example I spelled out for a deliberate assault on an objective. It's just an example used for illustrating that militaries do not stop in the middle of any fighting to render aid to wounded personnel, which does directly relate to the Reuters incident.

As for hostile action that day, I believe the helicopter gunners and their chain of command felt the actions of the Reuters team constituted a threat to coalition forces operating close by, who had already been taking fire during their mission. I believe they saw a very clearly armed group walking in the general direction of US forces, and that after they made the assumption the group was potentially hostile they then misidentified a man crouching down at a corner as aiming down the sights of an RPG-7. They only had a few seconds before they no longer had a good angle to see the "RPG gunner". I think if they had more time they may have better assessed the situation, or maybe not. There's only so much you can tell from the air when you've got vulnerable ground troops already involved in conflict in an adjacent neighborhood. The fact that innocent civilians were mistakenly killed in war does not instantly make it an unlawful action, and that's what this thread has been about. It was an unfortunate incident, but it was absolutely legal in every sense of the word.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38250324)

Queue the sound of crickets chirping...

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#38307672)

You didn't read about Anna Nicole Smith's [guardian.co.uk] take down of the Bahamian government? Obviously she was working for the CIA..

But seriously, the weather... I was talking about the people who 'leaked' the documents.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (4, Insightful)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38244772)

It's those who would shut it down that made it about Assange. His name was basically unknown compared to WikiLeaks until the bogus sexual harassment character assassination thing hit.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 2 years ago | (#38245354)

It's those who would shut it down that made it about Assange. His name was basically unknown compared to WikiLeaks until the bogus sexual harassment character assassination thing hit.

That's very true: I'd known of Wikileaks for years, but his name never really came up in relation to it, not in the regular media anyway. Once his crowd started hitting a little too close to home they took more direct measures. I'm surprised that one of the multi-billion-dollar outfits whose dirt he's been publishing hasn't had him killed yet, although they might be afraid of creating a martyr. The Wikileaks crowd is pretty damned hard to intimidate, it seems.

Who knows ... if HIllary Clinton gets her way, the CIA might get tasked to bump him off. I was appalled at the members of our government who publicly called for his assassination. That's the kind of thing that people should remember when it comes time to cast their votes.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38245472)

...and instead vote for ... ummm....

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (2, Insightful)

marcroelofs (797176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38247328)

.. Ron Paul

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38247412)

+1, Funny.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38249136)

I sometimes wish that he makes it to be the Rep candidate and then gets elected. So we can finally see how that "self-healing properties" of economy really work out.

It's gonna be some horrible years, but maybe we can at least start building after that idea gets cleaned up.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (1)

sten ben (1652107) | more than 2 years ago | (#38313918)

I sometimes wish that he makes it to be the Rep candidate and then gets elected. So we can finally see how that "self-healing properties" of economy really work out.

It's gonna be some horrible years, but maybe we can at least start building after that idea gets cleaned up.

Hasn't the Bush's already shown that? I mean, the richest 400 people in the USA has the net worth of the poorest 150 000 000. I have a hard time seeing it was like that before Reagan/Bush/Bush.

Re: sig; In Corporate America money owns you.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38245184)

So instead of information about this particular release we only get to read +5 conversation derailing bullshit about how it wasn't good enough in the past? Does that seem a little fishy to anyone else?

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38245642)

Troll or Shill or Spook?

egos and whistleblowing (3, Insightful)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 2 years ago | (#38246030)

I think it takes a certain amount of confidence in one's own point of view to go blowing whistles.

To do what Assange has done takes quite a bit more of it.

Ego is not the primary problem, even if the people who think they have something to hide want to distract us by pointing at the ego.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38246264)

There are those in high places that are very happy to see America being handed up to the world on any platter. The problem that is not so obvious is that they carry US Credentials and are being paid massive amounts of old money to further their agendas. This is no secret. Anything to make us look stupid or corrupt is a bonus for them.

We need those sunglasses from the movie, "They Live" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096256/ [imdb.com]

~then we'd have something!

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38248590)

Brainwashed cunt.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38249522)

Most think they could have done their job better and the organization could be more successful if it was more about transparency and whistleblowing and less about Assange and satisfying his ego.

How is it about Assange satisfying his ego? Those allegations only seemed to arise after Wikileaks began to piss off the US government. Around the same time Assange was falsely accused of rape. Around the same time anyone with any connection to Wikileaks was being detained at the US border.

Funny how before the US government leaks, everyone thought Wikileaks was about transparency, and then afterwards everyone suddenly began talking about Assange and his ego.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (3, Funny)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38244668)

Oh come on, the fact your government has all your phone calls on file and knows every website you've ever visited is so shockingly predictable it doesn't even need to be leaked.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (3, Insightful)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38244784)

Proof. It's what differentiates between bonafide conspiracy and tin foil.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (1)

asifyoucare (302582) | more than 2 years ago | (#38248458)

"Proof" is overstating it. "Evidence" is not. At a minimum one needs plausible suspicion backed by some facts.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38313204)

Seriously?

Off the top of my head:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnivore_%28software%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_Awareness_Office

Re:Ok. analyze the penus (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38244850)

My pickle, it tickles..

"Oh come on, the fact your government has all your phone calls on file and knows every website you've ever visited is so shockingly predictable it doesn't even need to be leaked."

How about this for a leak?

8====D ~~~~~~~~~~

it's fun for all !

Re:Ok. analyze the penus (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38244864)

DRINK YO PRUNE JUICE

Re:Ok. analyze the penus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38244986)

Why does every release decline inside Whores?

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (3, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38244868)

The fact that you consider that a necessary evil, that should be happening everywhere just because surely happens in US, is already a bad thing.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38245490)

Well, those leaked files are the difference between "dude, stop posting yesterday's news" and "take off that tinfoil hat, willya?"

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38246460)

They weren't leaked. They were ALL publicly available, Wikileaks has just consolidated them into one convenient location.

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (3, Insightful)

Lazy Jones (8403) | more than 2 years ago | (#38244746)

It has certainly demonstrated the apathy of the public after such leaks...

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38245172)

I'm Top-post whoring because all of the comments in this discussion are political, being pro/anti-Assange.

One technical problem I want to point out is that Wikileaks describes FOXIT as one of the offending companies. I thought, "Oh no, my PDF reader is sending all of my data to big brother! Even though the link on the site is spelled "FOXIT," the link should be spelled "Fox-IT [fox-it.com] , and it didn't help that the link at the time didn't even work.

Short version: don't confuse Foxit with FOX-IT!

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Ok. analyze THIS. (3, Interesting)

Kagura (843695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38246410)

Can you come up and say that wikileaks hasnt done anything useful now ?

Are you kidding? These are a bunch of company brochures and a few publicly released reports from 160 intelligence contractors. Where is the leak? It's convenient that they put these all in one place for us, but these were already readily available. Wikileaks is now leaking public documents to the public.

Simple solution... (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38244588)

Initiate several processes on your desktop to just go about the web looking at random sites, following links, etc. You don't even need to load all content from pages, just do it like Lynx would and scan for HREF tags. Enough people do this and the government's storage will become overbudened. Probably could do this with a minimal effort to code.

Now, doesn't that just sound like all kinds of fun?!?

Re:Simple solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38244786)

Yeah, but if enough people don't do it odds are eventually you'd end up visiting sites about bomb making, federal building locations, army recruiters, and U-Haul rental trucks, and then you'd just be singled out.

I would say the rest of the content might confuse them, but it would probably just be porn. Considering you post on / read slashdot, it'll fit.

Re:Simple solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38244808)

Buy tons of Seagate / Western Digital stocks before doing that.

Re:Simple solution... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38244912)

"Enough people do this and the government's storage will become overbudened. Probably could do this with a minimal effort to code."

Sounds like t3rr0r1sM to me...

Don't forget to salute the flag like a good little tin soldier on your way out. PLEDGE TO FABRIC WAVING in the wind!

Re:Simple solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38246742)

Yes, that is DDOS and it is definitely punishable under some future law(s) which will be invoked retroactively to the present to arrest you, watch out!

Re:Simple solution... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 2 years ago | (#38245410)

Initiate several processes on your desktop to just go about the web looking at random sites, following links, etc. You don't even need to load all content from pages, just do it like Lynx would and scan for HREF tags. Enough people do this and the government's storage will become overbudened. Probably could do this with a minimal effort to code.

Now, doesn't that just sound like all kinds of fun?!?

It would make for an interesting botnet, wouldn't it? Just run a process on fifty or sixty million machines whose only task is to crawl the Web. Wouldn't even need to use a noticeable amount of bandwidth or CPU time. Just sit in the background hitting sites.

You could call it "TrackTHIS!".

Already running? (1)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 2 years ago | (#38246114)

Or, are those bots with really stupid sounding names leaving their calling cards on my personal web server logs and accessing stuff in contradiction to my bots tags the work of these "spy" companies?

Incompetence all around.

Re:Simple solution... (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 2 years ago | (#38250098)

It would make for an interesting botnet, wouldn't it? Just run a process on fifty or sixty million machines whose only task is to crawl the Web. Wouldn't even need to use a noticeable amount of bandwidth or CPU time. Just sit in the background hitting sites.

You could call it "TrackTHIS!".

Or, you could call it Google.

Re:Simple solution... (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38255104)

I still think jokingly attributing everything that goes wrong to the CIA would be more fun and effective.

If you're an atheist they are your bogeyman

Internet goes down, CIA. File get's corrupted, CIA. Windows crashes, CIA. Boss loses an email, CIA.

Would make it WAY harder to algorithmically track subversives.

Plus it's kind of fun!
Written from Canada :)

Yeah, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38246050)

Initiate several processes on your desktop to just go about the web looking at random sites, following links, etc.

I have thought for some time that polluting surveillance data to the point of it being pure noise was the best solution (granted, until today I was mostly thinking about cookies/web bugs and ISP surveillance). However, a technique that just randomly generated ip's, for example, could stumble across some very bad places/things and invite unwanted attention, rather than thwart profiling.

Bear in mind also that Internet surveillance is only a small subset of what TFA is talking about.

Re:Simple solution... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38246396)

I want to start something called the 'Random Data Exchange', wherein every signup gets emailed a batch of 30-40kbytes of completely random data (/dev/random would do to start, but there's better) from some other subscriber, reasonably randomly chosen, once every couple of days, with the email subject, "Random Data Exchange 034FDEC2" where the subject line is the first few bytes of the MD5 hash of the pile of random data.

The idea being that it's random data. Everyone gets some. Well-encrypted data is indistinguishable from random data. Just try to beat out the keys to data that has no keys from 50,000 people, all with plausible deniability, because it's random data!

AC, for obvious reasons.

PS - Unfortunately, I've not worked out how to defeat the spamming problem, given such a nice big list of email addresses who've signed up, without some sort of central authority. AC.

Re:Simple solution... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38247290)

If you use Firefox, this comes to mind: http://cs.nyu.edu/trackmenot

Re:Simple solution... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38247318)

Or even this one, with the added benefit of contributing to the network: http://yacy.net/en/

Complicit vendors are complicit? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38244594)

Most people are not aware of how complicit security vendors, who publicly work to protect the public from such electronic eavesdropping, are complicit in such monitoring.

Really? I'd be more surprised to learn that complicit security vendors were not, in fact, complicit in this or similar activities.

The president of the tautology club is not the president of the tautology club.

Soft Kitty Warm Kitty... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38244664)

Is it too much to ask to present the information within one neatly compressed archive? Or do they crave the hits from clicking all over the page while you scroll up and down through the links?

Turnabout is Fair Play (5, Interesting)

Phoenix666 (184391) | more than 2 years ago | (#38244832)

Every government, including the American one, has limited resources. Every government, especially the American one, has bureaucratic constraints. Think of the slowest, dumbest Fortune 500 company you can, and then think of the slowest, dumbest PHB within that corporation, and then multiply that by 1000. That's the caliber of people who work for governments. It's the nature of the beast: create a system where ass-kissing, not merit, determine career progress, and then divorce that entirely from a mitigating profit motive, and you have government.

These are the people who are buying the services/products of these surveillance companies. These are the people who don't read the user manuals of the products/services that these companies sell. These are the people who boss around the "technical" staff who are tasked with reading the user manuals but who frankly don't get paid enough to put up with this shit.

That is the reality of the surveillance net.

Now, consider that these days you, me, and every Tom, Dick, and Harry out there has access to virtually the same tech the governments and their corporate enablers do. Consider that even the cost factor for said tech is racing to zero. That is, the governments and companies are not using some secretly acquired alien technology that uses physics that the rest of the world doesn't grasp yet. You and I can understand the same physical laws and technology that the governments and the corporations in their employ do. And we do.

So why don't we turn it all around and crowd-source surveillance of them? Why not minutely track the exact location of every Congressman sneaking off to boink a 20 year old intern? Why not put Jamie Dimon's cell phone conversations on a streaming service, available to anyone in the world to listen to? Why not put them under the same microscope that they want to put us under?

After all, if the technological balance of power is at or near parity, then the deciding factor becomes how many people can you get to make sense of the data; and there are vastly more of us than there are of them to do that.

Let's once and for all shatter this venomous illusion of authority and competence that governments and corporations have cultivated and exploited for millenia. Let's excise the incalculable damage they have done to human advancement and win a better world for ourselves.

I for one am so very tired of the stunted one they have forced on us.

Re:Turnabout is Fair Play (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38244978)

Now, consider that these days you, me, and every Tom, Dick, and Harry out there has access to virtually the same tech the governments and their corporate enablers do. Consider that even the cost factor for said tech is racing to zero. That is, the governments and companies are not using some secretly acquired alien technology that uses physics that the rest of the world doesn't grasp yet. You and I can understand the same physical laws and technology that the governments and the corporations in their employ do. And we do.

Unlike the government, we don't have the ability to force ISPs and such to cooperate with us by coercion. "Give us your logs or you're going to prison" carries a lot more weight than "Give us your logs or I'll complain about you on Slashdot".

Re:Turnabout is Fair Play (1)

Killer Instinct (851436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38245292)

c'mon...i would venture a guess that there is a couple people on here who have access or could get said ISP's logs. but really who has the time to go through human feces?

Re:Turnabout is Fair Play (1)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 2 years ago | (#38245744)

Ever heard of a free little bit of code called 'grep'?

Grep - So You No Longer Have To Go Thru Human Feces! (tm) ;)

feces (1)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 2 years ago | (#38246140)

This is why it keeps getting worse.

None of want to get our own hands dirty trying to fix it.

Re:feces (1)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#38248028)

This is why it keeps getting worse. None of [us] want to get our own hands dirty trying to fix it.

No, it's just that fixing stuff isn't that simple. If you don't do it right, it's a waste of time (and maybe worse). Do it right, and the problem never returns. Think like a geek: analyze the problem, design a solution, implement the design, test it to see if it actually fixes anything and works, ...

Nathan Hale might've had the right point of view, but he was a pathetic failure as spies go (ask the CIA). Guy Fawkes might have had a brilliant flash of insight, yet the British Parliament still stands and he was last seen alive in a noose. Brilliant insight plus crap implementation == FAIL!

On the other hand, George Washington had the right point of view *and* he was a brilliant spymaster. Ditto, Ian Fleming.

I prefer the latter. I want my efforts to produce results, not just get me into (eg.) Lubianka [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Turnabout is Fair Play (1)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 2 years ago | (#38245716)

This spells out why black hat hackers occasionally create good on this planet.

Re:Turnabout is Fair Play (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38245578)

What you miss is that Government has a monopoly on force, is owned by the puppeteers that also own the propaganda machine (mainstream media)

Re:Turnabout is Fair Play (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38246482)

This might work ... to a point. But unfortunately governments and corporations have a HECK of a lot more money to spend on this sort of thing than I do. It's a losing battle.

Re:Turnabout is Fair Play (1)

Comrade_Zhukov (1846290) | more than 2 years ago | (#38246496)

This may very well be one of the best posts I've ever read on the internet. Phoenix666, there is a nerd out there with a mancrush on you.

Congratulations! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38248254)

...you have just described what Wikileaks is trying to do. Yes, it'd be cool if it were a crowd effort.

Re:Turnabout is Fair Play (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38255164)

Well first you'd need an effective deterrent or punishment for malfeasance. Currently governments do all sorts of unsavory things and get away with them, even when the public knows!

Worse still are the evil's that companies get away with. Though rarely proximate in scale their motivation of "profit" makes their acts equally heinous.

Since the major media uses sound bites, which aren't long enough to really get people enraged ("oh I'm sure that's out of context", "they know something I don't", "it's not the voter's responsibility"). But which quickly grab the spotlight from any real progress being made or issues worth examining.

Viewers end up with extremely generalized and stereotyped views of what's going on.

Really... (1)

Killer Instinct (851436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38245080)

...and in other news the earth is not flat.

Assume everything you do is tracked/available, because it is. Someone once told me "If they want to fire you, they can always find something" and i've seen it happen to people. Just dont do anything to make them wanna fire/investigate you and you will be fine. Lets just review one case in the news currently. PSU. If the feds didnt catch Sandusky (cause you know there had to be phone calls with the boys, emails, and im sure his "history" trail on his computer wasnt just "boys life" magazine) then u know they dont actually pay attention to 99% of the stuff being watched, unless u stick your head to high and get them to look. OTOH, if you want to be completely safe then move to a cave, dont use fire (smoke will give you away) and for chris sake dont ever go outside.

-KI

Re:Really... (4, Insightful)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 2 years ago | (#38245418)

Just dont do anything to make them wanna fire/investigate you and you will be fine.

Isn't this another way of saying, "do whatever your government tells you to, without objection"?

I'm not sure that attitude is compatible with democracy. Sometimes the boat needs to be rocked.

And by the way (2)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38245094)

dont you find it weird that governments are spying on their own citizens MORE than they spy on the enemy ? and even do it more effectively ?

Re:And by the way (1)

eudas (192703) | more than 2 years ago | (#38245522)

it's easier to get your own citizens to remain complacent about being spied on than the enemy agents.

Re:And by the way (4, Interesting)

LVSlushdat (854194) | more than 2 years ago | (#38245532)

dont you find it weird that governments are spying on their own citizens MORE than they spy on the enemy ? and even do it more effectively ?

Don't you realize WE are now enemies of the government? When DOJ/FBI puts out pamphlets saying that loners/Constitutionalists/Teapartiers are terrorists, you KNOW we are now considered the enemy of this current regime...

Re:And by the way (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38247082)

...you KNOW we are now considered the enemy of this current regime...

You don't think you were enemies of the previous one as well? Wow. You've drunk the KoolAid, my friend.

Re:And by the way (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 2 years ago | (#38245556)

dont you find it weird that governments are spying on their own citizens MORE than they spy on the enemy ? and even do it more effectively ?

Not really. Because, when you get right down to it, the only real enemy of government officials are their own citizens who might fight to displace them.

Re:And by the way (2)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#38248086)

dont you find it weird that governments are spying on their own citizens MORE than they spy on the enemy?

Not really. Because, when you get right down to it, the only real enemy of government officials are their own citizens who might fight to displace them.

Try harder. NAZI Germany wasn't taken offline by the German people.

Yeah, yeah, Godwin. Bleh.

Re:And by the way (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38249510)

Nothing weird about that. When governments are working for the benefit of the top 1%, it is natural for them to be more afraid of the 99% of their citizens who are getting the short end of the stick. It is a perverse version of "governments should fear their people."

..."unregulated..." (3, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 2 years ago | (#38245352)

Oh! Oh! People doing things without permission!

What the hell do you think that "regulation" of the security industry is going to do except guarantee that the only companies allowed into it are ones that are willing to cooperate with the intelligence agencies of the goverments doing the regulating?

This is old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38246128)

At least one company that was many times told that they were leaving back door vulnerabilities through buffer overflows open still did nothing to stop them years after they were known back in the mid to late 1990s [Macromedia] But can't link for sure that they were openly acting for any government.

This is the other side ... (2)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38246246)

... of corporate control of the government. In reality, its a two way street. Corporations want a privileged position in our society. And we think that money is the only payment the politicians get? Its like the Godfather. Ask him for a favor and some day, he'll expect something of you in return.

Especially (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38246676)

those living in the so called democratic countries will be surprised but none else.

International Overload the System Day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38247434)

I think that one day a year we should all append 'alarming' text to our emails and see if smoke comes out of the overlord's monitoring network.

Won't convince the masses (1)

Sean (422) | more than 2 years ago | (#38248144)

I've been called a "tinfoil hatter" for describing government snooping setups I've seen with my own eyes I've even been called crazy for claiming that the US government is spying even though it's been covered extensively in the New York Times.

Re:Won't convince the masses (1)

neonKow (1239288) | more than 2 years ago | (#38285566)

Oh shucks, you crazy tinfoil hatter, you. No one is spying on you. Now go back to using the internets some more.

RTFF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38248194)

Seriously, did anyone read the effin' "files"?

Wikileaks has released 287 "files" so far. Of those, 286 are marketing material. They call the other one a "contract", but it looks like marketing material as well (marketing material specially targeted to Libya, which is maybe not so awesome, so score 1 point to wikileaks there). The wikileaks description of the documents contains a lot of sensationalist comments, as does the itworld article, but for some reason they don't actually link to any of the documents in their commentary. (The itworld article _looks_ like it has a lot of links, but they all go to the same wikileaks overview.)

We can try to look at a few of the claims the the wikileaks commentary makes, and see if there is something there. Examples:

- "companies such as VASTech secretly sell equipment to permanently record the phone calls of entire nations." --- (Hey guys, we found this brochure that says some company wants to sell us a tape recorder!)

- "Trovicor, previously a subsidiary of Nokia Siemens Networks, supplied the Bahraini government with interception technologies that tracked human rights activist Abdul Ghani Al Khanjar." --- Maybe that is true, but, oh wait, there are no documents related to Trovicor. (There is one pdf of a powerpoint presentation which looks like it describes Nokia Siemens Networks' strategy for handling legal wiretaps.)

From the itworld article: "Cisco Systems, for example, is listed as helping with both computer and cell-phone monitoring. Nuance Technology – maker of Dragon Naturally Speaking speech recognition software – is listed as helping with cell-phone and speech analysis." Evidence? wikileaks put their name on a map. (Nope, no files for either one. But really, I wouldn't be very surprised to learn that a company which makes voice recognition software is selling, well, voice recognition software, or that a company which makes networking equipment is selling ... wait for it ... networking equipment.)

Back to wikileaks: "In January 2011, the National Security Agency broke ground on a $1.5 billion facility in the Utah desert that is designed to store terabytes of domestic and foreign intelligence data forever and process it for years to come." --- OMG, they are going to buy, like, 2 disk drives! (Those must be expensive disks.)

Ok, I'm just having a little fun with that last one. But seriously, I'm pretty sure that there isn't much more than a bunch of FUD here, and Wikileaks is upset that everyone has forgotten about them. I suppose that if there is a real story there, we'll see more from the Washington Post, a supposed partner in this.

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