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Julian Assange: "Online Totalitarianism Is Near, Entire Nations Are Intercepted"

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the war-and-disorder dept.

Privacy 325

dryriver writes "Russia Today's correspondents have visited Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where Assange has been holed up for nearly 6 months now. In the 12 minute long interview with RT, Assange has many interesting things to say about privacy, and government data interception in particular. A small excerpt: 'The people who control the interception of the Internet and, to some degree also, physically control the big data warehouses and the international fiber-optic lines. We all think of the Internet as some kind of Platonic Realm where we can throw out ideas and communications and web pages and books and they exist somewhere out there. Actually, they exist on web servers in New York or Nairobi or Beijing, and information comes to us through satellite connections or through fiber-optic cables. So whoever physically controls this controls the realm of our ideas and communications. And whoever is able to sit on those communications channels, can intercept entire nations, and that's the new game in town, as far as state spying is concerned — intercepting entire nations, not individuals. ... So what's happened over the last 10 years is the ever-decreasing cost of intercepting each individual now to the degree where it is cheaper to intercept every individual rather that it is to pick particular people to spy upon.'"

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325 comments

RT (3, Insightful)

farlukar (225243) | about a year ago | (#42163281)

RT knows all about freedom of press, hm?

Re:RT (5, Insightful)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about a year ago | (#42163915)

RT knows all about freedom of press, hm?

You are of course carrying out argument ad Hominem. If you can't answer the critique except by insulting the person criticising you then you have failed already. but you do require an answer:

Whilst Russia is far down the world press freedom index [wikipedia.org] other countries like the USA have been falling fast. It's most likely a mistake to think that wherever you come from is definitely going to stay superior without your working for it. I think Russians who have been having to fight for their freedom recently and can frankly and clearly see that they often aren't winning that fight may have plenty to tell those of us who just sit and assume that we are free.

Lots of the freedom in the US and other liberal democracies used to be based on the idea that individuals can privately and quitely act on their beliefs and discuss them with friends without fear. Occasionally someone comes up with a new idea which convinces other people. If that new idea gets around to many people then we get a change in the whole society. In totalitarian countries some time early in that process an informer will report the idea to the government. If the government doesn't like the idea then they nip it in the bud and silently arrest all the people related to the idea in a way which causes no disruption to the society.

Similar attacks ideas do happen in the USA; look at some of the things that happened to the occupy movements. Look at recent scandles with undercover policemen infiltrating environmental movements in the UK. If the only thing which was different between us and the totalitarian countries - the lack of right for the government to spy on everyone - goes away, then there's no reason to think that this won't end up being abused.

Re:RT (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42164187)

There's nothing recent about the tactics: Ask anyone old enough to remember the McCarthy era, or the hippie era, or the "war on drugs", for US attempts in living memory to control freedom of speech in the name of blocking some force that threatens "America". What's recent is the ease and scale of widespread, indiscriminate monitoring.

Attention whore talks economies of scale 101! (-1, Flamebait)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year ago | (#42163339)

Why are we giving a world class attention whore attention for something that's elementary? What's next, it's cheaper to make Toyota Corolla's than Ferrari Enzo's? Are we going to get articles on his bathroom habits after this? The best thing you can do with an attention whore is ignore them.

Re:Attention whore talks economies of scale 101! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42163395)

Why talk about the wholesale spying on an entire nation? Because it bears discussion.

Re:Attention whore talks economies of scale 101! (4, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year ago | (#42163411)

2 Good reasons: first, because he is a world class attention whore, which means that when he says something, it's news and it's being listened to. Second, because it is not elementary to many. I think few people out there know of the scope and capabilities of current and upcoming surveillance technology.

Re:Attention whore talks economies of scale 101! (4, Interesting)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about a year ago | (#42163515)

I don't know about all that. If you asked my parents, who can barely send email, if the internet is truly anonymous and outside the grasp of various nations' surveillance, they'd laugh at the question.

It seems more likely that we regularly submit, read, and comment on these things because it's our way of bitching about it. Which I suppose is reason enough on its own.

Re:Attention whore talks economies of scale 101! (4, Insightful)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year ago | (#42163543)

You gravely overestimate the knowledge levels of the average internet user.

Re:Attention whore talks economies of scale 101! (5, Insightful)

GloomE (695185) | about a year ago | (#42164061)

It's not just the knowledge levels, it's also the care factor.
Concerned Citizen: The government is tracking your activities on that site!
Internet User: How dare they?!
Webmaster: But there's kittens!
Internet User: OMG! So cute!

Re:Attention whore talks economies of scale 101! (2, Insightful)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | about a year ago | (#42163627)

Your parents may not understand how to use that technology, but they understand its implications as they saw the world change as it became widely used. Children and teenagers growing up around this stuff though that just take it for granted? They don't have a fucking clue.

Re:Attention whore talks economies of scale 101! (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about a year ago | (#42164255)

You might be right... they do have historical context, having lived through the cold war and all.

But then do we keep revisiting this (otherwise very obvious) thing for the benefit of those very, very naive children and teens? I think most people just don't care, and we do it because we want to vent.

Re:Attention whore talks economies of scale 101! (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about a year ago | (#42164267)

Your parents may not understand how to use that technology, but they understand its implications as they saw the world change as it became widely used.

There are some things that they get, sure, but most of the information retrieval that people see is or seems unstructured. E.g. google. They have no idea that you could do something like (in pseudo SQL)

Select emailer.name, emailer.id, friend.name, friend.id, email.body_subject, email.id, friend.sedition_rating, from emails, people as emailer, people as friend, friendship where friend.id = friendship.a_id and friendship.b_id = $target_person, and email.body_subject in (select subject from email_subjects where subject_area = "political" or subject_area = "fishing" );

and get a complete list of emails sent to your friends on political subjects and fishing (where they know you sometimes meet your political contacts) in order to start guessing who else might be worth picking up and interrogating to find out more about your own political activities. The old people think of email as something like faster/instant letters. They definitely don't understand the implications of the structured data included and the ease of feeding such data into databases.

In many ways, the "little bit of knowledge" is much more dangerous than no knowledge. The whole "I've got nothing to hide" comes from not understanding that what you wanted to hide might be something that you didn't even know about yourself. E.g. that two of your friends are doing something secret that you would want to support if you knew about it but wouldn't want the government to know about.

Re:Attention whore talks economies of scale 101! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42163697)

Absolutely!

A lot of laymen that I talked to about ECHELON think that I am some kind of crazy conspiracy theorist even though it is very well documented. Even in a report to the European Parliament. Source: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML+REPORT+A5-2001-0264+0+DOC+PDF+V0//EN&language=EN

And the somewhat smarter people obviously know that nothing on the internet is untraceable, though you can make it really hard, but they do not realize and/or accept that it is commonplace to intercept, datamine and record all online communications. And that it is kept till the end of days. Sadly enough datastorage is just that cheap these days.

Now the question arises will that information harm you now, in one year, 10 years, 20 years, 50 years...

The best response that I've heard to people saying that they have nothing to hide: Just tell them to give you all their passwords, to their Mail Account, Facebook, Dropbox, etc. If they argue that they do not trust YOU, tell them to send it in an envelope to the FBI, NSA, etc.

Re:Attention whore talks economies of scale 101! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42163705)

Why do people hold Assange in such high regard as to even give him the attention he is looking for?

He leaked confidential documents and put people's lives in danger. He is well over due for his just-deserved from whatever country will arrest him and give him his just-deserved, preferably bypassing any such due-process since his guilt is already confirmed.

If that means life in prison, so be it. If the United States gets him and holds true to their treason penalty, well... yeah, as per the US Constitution that's it for him.

Re:Attention whore talks economies of scale 101! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42163947)

Politicians put people's lives in danger on a daily basis for political and personal gain, are you going to say the same for them?

Re:Attention whore talks economies of scale 101! (2)

The Master Control P (655590) | about a year ago | (#42164423)

preferably bypassing any such due-process

Yes, eliminating a delay in the inevitable (since "his guilt is already confirmed") is TOTALLY worth betraying one of the most important precepts of the rule of law which untold millions of people have died to uphold around the world.

You sad, myopic, fucking moron.

Re:Attention whore talks economies of scale 101! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42163955)

"...first, because he is a world class attention whore"

So fucking what? We NEED an attention whore in that position--anything less will be ignored.

Since the day I discovered, many years ago, that AT&T had let the Feds install what amounts to a listening station on their backbone, I've assumed that the Feds are listening to everything. That being said, when it comes to fighting this madness, what have YOU done?

Don't knock Assange unless you've got a better plan, hotshot.

Re:Attention whore talks economies of scale 101! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42163607)

I will follow your advice and put you on my ignore list, attention whore.

Re:Attention whore talks economies of scale 101! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42163929)

The best thing you can do with an attention whore is ignore them.

And yet you get modded informative...

I am not defending the USA (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | about a year ago | (#42163347)

it spies on everyone

but Russia Today? seriously?

there's no sincerity here

just Russia sniffing out that they can use this issue as a political football

Russia's track record shows that it clearly stands far less for the principles Assange talks about than the West

but this won't stop Russia using Assange as a club against the West

Re:I am not defending the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42163409)

It doesn't matter which party is involved as long as the economics are alright everyone is suspect.

Re:I am not defending the USA (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about a year ago | (#42163423)

Every news agency has a bias because they are made by people and people have biases. However, Russia Today (and Al-Jezeera) shine because the biases they have are generally not shared by the mainstream US media.

If you want to be informed, you have to read all the news services and take them all with a grain of salt.

Re:I am not defending the USA (5, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#42163575)

I agree getting media from different sources is good, but I think grouping Russia Today and Al-Jazeera together isn't entirely fair to the latter. Russia Today is imo not the most reliable news source. I haven't done a systematic study or anything, but I've noticed a lot of stuff that is not that well sourced, over-extrapolated, etc. Al-Jazeera is in a different category: they generally are quite good. Some bias here and there, sure, but not at all sloppy. And their biggest bias is on a very narrow and easy to correct for subject: anything to do with Qatar or direct Qatari interests is treated differently. But fortunately I don't go to them primarily for news on Qatar. :) On other subjects, even the Middle East (outside Qatar), they are not even that biased, certainly nowhere near as much as what their strangely negative reputation in the U.S. would lead you to believe. I wonder to what extent they get a bad rap just because it's got an Arabic name, so sounds to many Americans like it'd be heavily biased in directions they don't like.

Re:I am not defending the USA (1)

ToadProphet (1148333) | about a year ago | (#42163797)

And their biggest bias is on a very narrow and easy to correct for subject: anything to do with Qatar or direct Qatari interests is treated differently. But fortunately I don't go to them primarily for news on Qatar. :) On other subjects, even the Middle East (outside Qatar), they are not even that biased, certainly nowhere near as much as what their strangely negative reputation in the U.S. would lead you to believe.

Anything to do with Saudi Arabia is also treated very differently, at least lately. Since Qatar and the Sauds have been snuggling up AJ has gone quiet on Saudi Arabia, which used to be a primary target for them. Orders came down from the top, so they no longer report on possibly the most brutal regime in the Middle East other than fluff pieces.

So don't kid yourself - AJ is likely as much a mouthpiece of the folks in charge as RT is. They're just a lot more subtle.

Re:I am not defending the USA (2)

grcumb (781340) | about a year ago | (#42164015)

So don't kid yourself - AJ is likely as much a mouthpiece of the folks in charge as RT is. They're just a lot more subtle.

The difference between the two is this: While RT sins in the things it says, al Jazeera is guilty for its silence.

If I had to choose between the two - and the world being what it is, I do - I'd take the latter. At least one can fill in the holes from other sources.

Re:I am not defending the USA (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#42164137)

I agree with the GP, it's all in the word "sloppy". AJ is to RT as BBC is to Daily Mail. At the less sloppy AJ/BBC end of the scale bias shows up as accurate but incomplete information, at the other end you get stories about Obama's birth certificate.

Re:I am not defending the USA (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about a year ago | (#42163595)

thank you. this really needs to be +10

there is no such thing as unbiased news media. never was. never will be

of course, there is a difference between outright purposeful propaganda and an organization that tries very hard to be impartial. but they'll be tarred and feathered by any political group that doesn't like what they are realistically reporting anyways

so it all depends on you, the reader. you need a good healthy bullshit meter. and you need to have a healthy media diet of many very different media sources, geographically and ideologically

that's the only way

Taxation is legalized theft, no more, no less.

and then your sig is fucking moronic

ah well

State funded people (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42163629)

While I agree with your comment, I think the bias here is blatantly obvious -- it is a state-funded [wikipedia.org] TV station launched in 2005.

Russians also have been critical of RT. Former KGB officer Konstantin Preobrazhensky criticized RT as "a part of the Russian industry of misinformation and manipulation".[104] Andrey Illarionov, former advisor to Vladimir Putin, has labeled the channel as “the best Russian propaganda machine targeted at the outside world.”[66]

James Kirchick in The New Republic accused the network of "often virulent anti-Americanism, worshipful portrayal of Russian leaders."[105] Ed Lucas wrote in Al Jazeera that the core of RT was "anti-Westernism."[106] Shaun Walker wrote in The Independent that RT "has made a name for itself as a strident critic of US policy."[107] Allesandra Stanley in The New York Times wrote that RT is "like the Voice of America, only with more money and a zesty anti-American slant."[46] David Weigel writes that RT goes further than merely creating distrust of the United States government, to saying, in effect: "You can trust the Russians more than you can trust those bastards."[29]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RT_%28TV_network%29#Objectivity

So let's be real about the motive. This isnt just normal "people" bias, this is state-funded propaganda. Doesn't make it wrong, and again I agree it is worth looking at, but not just with a grain of salt.

Re:State funded people (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42163799)

Did they doctor or change Assange's words? If not, your complaint is irrelevant to this topic.

Re:State funded people (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42164145)

Russia Today is the worst source of news, if that news involves Russia. Otherwise it's fairly decent.

Re:State funded people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42164411)

Tell me, what's more biased: State-funded BBC or capitalist funded Foxnews?

Thank you.

Re:I am not defending the USA (1)

Goodyob (2445598) | about a year ago | (#42163787)

the biases they have are generally not shared by the mainstream US media.

Of course they don't, have you SEEN how much RT bashes the US?

Re:I am not defending the USA (3, Interesting)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#42163975)

If you want to be informed, you have to read all the news services and take them all with a grain of salt.

Despite your current moderation, that view isn't really popular with large segments of people on Slashdot. It seems many people here don't like news from a different perspective, or providing inconvenient facts, if you know what I mean [foxnews.com]. (Cue posts about Fox News lying, reality has a liberal bias, etc. . . . . and then see parent post.) I guess to many people it is vital that we all look different, but think the same.

Re:I am not defending the USA (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about a year ago | (#42164225)

It seems many people here don't like news from a different perspective, or providing inconvenient facts, if you know what I mean.

I like news from different perspectives. "Fox News", however, is primarily an entertainment channel, and is an active source of noise whose viewers are less informed than people watching no news at all [theatlanticwire.com]. I also avoid MSNBC, which seems to be increasing following that model but in mirror-image.

For a right-wing perspective I can turn to sane (often wrong, but sane) media outlets like the WSJ, National Review, U.S. News & World Report.

Re:I am not defending the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42163695)

It's clear that this is what RT are doing. I bet they wouldn't be so friendly if JA had released leaked documents on what Russia did in Chechnya or Georgia or Russian government corruption. Come to think of it why hasn't he? Ah wait he's probably seen what happened to people like Alexander Litvinenko.

Re:I am not defending the USA (2)

gutnor (872759) | about a year ago | (#42163813)

That's a good point. Assange has seen quite a bit of the US dirty laundry. Better he didn't lie, he showed the world the f*cking documents and those documents are not even disputed.

So the real question is where are all the interviews in the US press and why do we need to read that in Russia Today ?

Re:I am not defending the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42163873)

It's funny eh in Russia they report about the over reaching of Western Governments and in Western Nations they report about the overreaching of Middle East, r\Russia etc. I wonder which is true? Maybe both? History and politics seems to always favor the nation you live in, why dont you talk to some American Indians, Australian Aborigines or maybe more recent Palestinians? Might give you a different view.

Re:I am not defending the USA (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about a year ago | (#42164009)

there isn't a region in the world without an ugly history. what's your point?

i'm talking about the idea of free and open flow of information, isn't that the subject matter here? assange?

the west has problems with the free flow of information

but a country like russia has orders of magnitude more problems with that

you don't make any valid points by changing the subject

Re:I am not defending the USA (0, Flamebait)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#42164029)

Like there was ever "sincerity" in the West? Recall http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Mockingbird [wikipedia.org]
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/29/correspondence-collusion-new-york-times-cia [guardian.co.uk]
"CIA's role in pumping the film-makers with information about the Bin Laden raid"

Re:I am not defending the USA (2)

circletimessquare (444983) | about a year ago | (#42164167)

of course the west isn't perfect. i specifically said "I am not defending the USA"

now, do you want to honestly represent to us your opinion about Russia's commitment to the free flow of information?

freedom of speech, freedom of the press, propaganda and obfuscation, etc.: the West is not perfect. but orders of magnitude doing better in this subject matter than a country like Russia.

i can't really understand someone who will pillory the West on this subject matter and ignore the history of a country like Russia

Re:I am not defending the USA (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#42164069)

just Russia sniffing out that they can use this issue as a political football

Yeah. And Total Information Awareness, those airport scanners, equipping our police with surplus military gear (including combat-ready heavy assault tanks), and reading about government agencies like the Social Security administration purchasing hollow point bullets by the ton is totally safe and nobody should worry about it. Is saying their media is biased a bit like the pot calling the kettle black? While people died by the thousand in Myanmar every day, our national media aired celebrity news as the major headlines of the week. When the UN overwhelmingly welcomed the state of Palestine, granting it nation status, our news outlets applauded Israel launching rockets and planning new settlements in the newly-recognized state... and there was very little analysis done on the situation as a whole. When even Israel's equivalent to the President came out in the international media and said (paraphrasing) "I know we're bullies, but we're trying to be benevolent bullies!" every major international news site covered it... and every domestic news site talked about, umm... Oprah using a new Surface tablet?

Bias is everywhere, and if you want the truth, you need to look at all the sources, not just the ones close to you, or the ones politically fashionable. I read the BBC, Al Jezerra, the state-run chinese news sites, several sites in Germany, and yes, Russia Today. I also watch CNN... and let me tell you, of all of them our own media is the most lacking on international events. Our "international" sections usually consist of stories like "Why Don't People Like Us? New Study Reveals It's Because We're Bombing Them." Or put another way -- even in our international news, we're really just looking at our own reflection and asking, "What does the world think about us?" Russia Today and many others are right to point out how self-centered our media is, and by reflection, our culture. Conversely, their constant attack of "the west" (tm)(r)(c)(patent pending) is strained at best, and patently absurd on its bad days. We do get a lot of things right... it'd do them well to occasionally acknowledge that.

Re:I am not defending the USA (4, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | about a year ago | (#42164195)

the funniest thing about those who freely pillory the West and refrain from criticizing the likes of Russia, is that if the situation were reversed: attacking Russia from within Russia, and remaining silent on the West, they would get a knock on the door

in other words, you don't know how good you got it. can the West improve? of course. but you have to be intellectually honest when comparing the West's track record with the likes of Russia, or you just can't be taken seriously

freedom of speech. freedom of the press. these are concepts in the West that are not perfect, but legally and culturally adhered to orders of magnitude better than in countries like Russia

are you afraid you will be targeted for speaking out against the West, as you post from within the West? no?

think about that. think about what that really means. now try to be intellectually honest on this subject matter

Silly FUD Summary (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42163353)

Here is an interesting bit from the article about what Julian thinks we should actually do and what will happen if don't do it:

"So this is where we are at now, which is we've got to create education amongst people, so there can be a market demand, so that others can be encouraged to produce easy-to-use cryptographic technology that is capable of protecting not everyone, but a significant number of people from mass state spying. And if we are not able to protect a significant number of people from mass state spying, then the basic democratic and civilian institutions that we are used to – not in the West, I am no glorifier of the West, but in all societies – are going to crumble away. They will crumble away, and they will do so all at once. And that's an extremely dangerous phenomenon."

I like this idea a lot, and wonder how this could occur.. But I am more interested in the answer to the question of... How much is being stuck in a building for 6 months affecting Julian psychologically?

Re:Silly FUD Summary (2)

redelm (54142) | about a year ago | (#42163829)

"mass crypto" -- already done, encouraged by commerce and useable by everyone: go look for httpsEverywhere. I'm using it right now with /.

Of course you will complain the crypto isn't perfect. It does not have to be, just enough to significantly increase the cost (CPU cycles) of sieving it all.

Re:Silly FUD Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42164173)

Riiiight... Because so many websites use https. Last I checked it was mainly banks, stores and a small number of tech-savvy folk willing to shell out for an official certificate. Because self-signed is scary. Everything else is transmitted in the clear. Never mind all those other communication channels like IM programs, online games, and email. Don't even get me started about the rise of social networking sites.

Most people don't seem to give a damn about privacy or encryption, and that is a shame, because it only works right if both parties are familiar with using it. The five people using PGP mail are safe but what about the rest?

Re:Silly FUD Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42164349)

I think it really shouldn't be called HTTPS *Everywhere* since it only enforces HTTPS for whitelisted sites.
The problem is that the name imparts a sense of security that your connections will be safe, while at the same time you'll visit many sites each day that are unencrypted and I'd wager that many of those are the kind of websites that characterise you as you in the eyes of an attacker and that those are exactly the sites that Eve would be most interested in.

Re:Silly FUD Summary (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | about a year ago | (#42164149)

"I like this idea a lot, and wonder how this could occur.. "

Open source browsers IMHO. I've always thought that web browsers would be a great point to introduce fully encrypted instant messenging/voice over IP.

Re:Silly FUD Summary (3, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#42164151)

The problem with this idea is that even if everything is encrypted end-to-end the government will just go after the ends. For example I always use encryption when accessing Google, but the government could still go to Google and get my search history.

So not only do we need to get everyone to use Tor or whatever, we need them to switch to secure services that somehow pay for themselves without invading privacy or being vulnerable to government demands to log and hand over data.

Re:Silly FUD Summary (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#42164237)

Conflicted Pychology: A spy who tells everyone he can that spying is evil.
Is Julian simply projecting his repressed guilt onto "the man" with that quote?

Personally I think the contradiction is fascinating, we all trivially spy on others and yet we all get upset when we catch someone doing it to us.

been a long time coming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42163355)

This has been the gameplan all along. The stated reasons given to the american taxpayer for the internet (given to the big telcos by Clinton admin) were free information and instantaneous communications. Look closely at what has come to be -- another place for merchants to peddle their garbage. And facebook. The ad companies (like google) work with facebook and sell the data to the NSA.

The internet is effectively the first comprehensive spying machine. Stalin and the East German Stasi couldn't ever have dreamed of something like this.

Checkmate.

Re:been a long time coming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42163737)

Actually:

The Internet puts out what I choose to be spied upon. Nobody says I have to put my life history and where the bodies are buried (that info is saved for my recovery questions) onto Facebook.

You want secure communication, PGP or GPG is available for Android, jailbroken iOS, and all desktop operating systems.

Proxies are not illegal in most of the world. Nothing impossible with using a bogus FB account tied to a throwaway $14.99 phone from T-Mobile for authentication.

Finally, most places use SSL for everything thanks to Phorm and other in transit "experience enhancers" which replace someone's associate values with their own, or maybe even actively insert malware. Even Facebook does this.

So, for the stupid, yes. For someone who knows how to zip up their fly, there are options.

Well, duh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42163365)

Well, duh. That's what always made me LMAO at the internet idealists and the hippy dippy "The internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it" types. It's pretty much a no brainer that all the fiber, infrastructure, and servers that make up the Internet are owned by a government or by a corporation who will bow to their government's wishes. The fact that the Internet was a free for all for the past two decades is merely the fact that legislators and the judiciary have been slow to understand the technology and how to regulate it.

The Wild West days of the Internet are drawing to a close, kids; civilization is 'a coming.

Re:Well, duh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42163461)

That's what always made me LMAO at the internet idealists and the hippy dippy "The internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it" types.

It does. If it's properly encrypted, they can't read it. That said, the average person is far too unintelligent to memorize a few steps.

The fact that the Internet was a free for all for the past two decades is merely the fact that legislators and the judiciary have been slow to understand the technology and how to regulate it.

There is no real way to regulate it without utterly ruining it, and even that is nearly impossible.

Re:Well, duh... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42163721)

There is no real way to regulate it without utterly ruining it, and even that is nearly impossible.

You must have missed the memo. The plan is to turn this "internet" thing into an updated version of the home shopping network. Anyone else will be quickly identified as a "hacker." The ways to regulate it aren't really by regulation -- this will occur by "closed garden" computing systems, closely monitored privately owned and run networks, and the steady attack on pesky "eccentrics" (stallman, etc) who insist on silly freedoms via software and hardware.

General computing tools and dumb pipes are bad for business.

Re:Well, duh... (1)

RevDisk (740008) | about a year ago | (#42164431)

I can't even count the number of Site to Site VPNs I've set up. Plenty of the routine internet traffic IS constantly encrypted. Sure, it's breakable. But you have a hard time guessing which is two employees emailing LOLcat pictures and which is Super Important Corporate documents.

Just like corporate networks. While yes, security is not as great as I'd or any sane person would prefer... It's getting slowly better. Virtually every executive I have spoken to understands that "security stuff" is a requirement, like lights or water. They don't understand the particulars, but they get the general purpose and understand the need to do more than the bare minimum. Security devices are generally becoming more friendly to use, easier to configure and occasionally lower in price. Operating systems are getting better as well.

With the huge diversity of environments, good luck trying to control them all. And good luck shutting them down.

Re:Well, duh... (1)

lennier (44736) | about a year ago | (#42163771)

If it's properly encrypted, they can arrest you for being a terrorist and play Justin Bieber at you until you give them the password

Fixed for you. The Internet is only a technological solution as far as the endpoints, which are delicious and chewy humans.

Translation: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42163385)

I'm still out here, buy my autobiography and other mass-produced crap to...uhm...well, it's not for my trial anymore...to...smuggle me to freedom? Yeah, that sounds as good as anything else, I guess.

imagine.. (1)

MakersDirector (2767101) | about a year ago | (#42163387)

Imagine a hack that circumvents all security, imagine a hack that 'wraps all' in a bubble of space/time/possibilities'..

Imagine a hack who's 'code' is written in a way that lets it travel on the ENERGY of electrons, freely...

Now you're getting the picture of what it took to become who I am... That's just a start....

Paranoid (1)

Seeteufel (1736784) | about a year ago | (#42163427)

Imagine they had a backup, fine. Who gets access to the data? I can't even find my own files and people forget what we discussed on a mailing list. It is wrong to keep people in fear. And it is wrong to keep company with RT.

Re:Paranoid (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#42164243)

Who gets access to the data?
The NSA, CIA, DIA bulk collection is cleaned up and indexed very quickly and well. The US had a vision of an electronic file system back in the 1960's. It was well funded while other agencies around the world where still working with paper and dreaming about data entry into realtime file systems.
The NSA, DIA is not some federal police building with an old database and top contractors trying their best over many years.
Historically your "access to the data" might have been a good question. Now its any contractor, new agency or cleared staff member can have a look.
The tight cleared for "hierarchical" internal NSA structures are been replaced with a more open "cloud". You have 100000's for new 'cleared' staff in new buildings with new encrypted lines getting bulk data, adding their 'thoughts' for top wages.
Re 'It is wrong to keep people in fear." We dont really know what the US likes to do the "West" when they get interested.
Can we project from COINTELPRO and wonder about what parts of the world that keep "company" with the US do:
If your political at the low end of the scale get noticed you might face something like decades of undercover officers?:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2236811/Ten-women-sue-Scotland-Yard-tricked-sexual-relationships-officers-including-activist-spy-Mark-Kennedy.html [dailymail.co.uk]

I don't see the issue here (5, Funny)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about a year ago | (#42163439)

So what if they're snooping on entire nations.

After all, if nobody in a nation is doing anything wrong, then that nation has got nothing to worry about.

Re:I don't see the issue here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42164103)

I realize you're joking but in case somebody thinks you're serious, let's spell it all out here: Privacy isn't about keeping one big dirty secret but the sum of every little everyday thing you do. Things that are not criminal or any way deviant can get you burned. If you don't believe it, ask these guys: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_American_internment [wikipedia.org]

Re:I don't see the issue here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42164125)

So you are fully satisfied with the current evaluation made by states around the world about what is good and what is wrong. You fully approve and trust their laws, practices and judgement. Really?

Re:I don't see the issue here (1)

epSos-de (2741969) | about a year ago | (#42164445)

He did not say anything particular, but for sure the chat and phone calls are all logged. It is actually very easy to log all of the send and upload requests to the servers that do not have HTTPS. So, ALL YOUR SLASHDOT COMMENTS are logged by the country that you are from.

Real Internet (1)

udachny (2454394) | about a year ago | (#42163469)

The Real Internet has to be created, just like real money, this one will not be under the rule of any nation State or any combination of any nation States. It will not be the best Internet, the fastest with the most whizbang, but it will be what it is supposed to be. It can only be done if businesses participate, but businesses cannot participate as long as the governments can punish businesses, tax them out of existence, regulate them out of existence for any pretence reason without disclosing the real reason - support of the real Internet.

A real Internet has to be self-sustainable, that is why businesses must participate. If businesses do not participate, then this Internet can only exist on donations and it is not clear that there is a model that can be sustained based on donations.

Thus every tax based on productivity, every business regulation and obviously control of money is a way to control the real Internet, either to prevent it from existing or to control what it is by government agenda, and no Internet is real if it is controlled by governments.

---

(oh, and do not listen to those, who will disparage the message because it is brought through any specific messenger. So Julian gives this interview on RT, do not dismiss the Interview because the channel used to be named 'Russia Today', treat with suspicion any messenger and message that disparages the ideas that Julian is presenting here based on the media he used).

Re:Real Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42163609)

It can only be done if businesses participate, but businesses cannot participate as long as the governments can punish businesses, tax them out of existence, regulate them out of existence for any pretence reason without disclosing the real reason

So what you're saying is that a "real Internet" is just a libertard pipe dream that's only slightly more viable than Seasteading.

use encryption (4, Interesting)

Tom (822) | about a year ago | (#42163497)

As the Cypherpunks have been saying for maybe 20 years now: Use encryption. Not just SSL when you buy something online, but for everything. Heck, we should all be running IPSec. But it's not going anywhere because we don't understand interception and think it doesn't happen to us.

Re:use encryption (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42163563)

I also hope everybody uses IPSec. Unfortunately most think encryption takes too much resources except google says otherwise. Hell they have the entire world using it on Gmail and I doubt their making much money off that.

Re:use encryption (5, Insightful)

binarstu (720435) | about a year ago | (#42163729)

You have an excellent point, but unfortunately, even encryption provides far less protection than it used to. The original vision for the Internet was a decentralized network where individuals controlled their own information, but today's reality is that the Internet is increasingly centralized, with tremendous amounts of personal information held by a relatively small number of players. Combine this with the fact that the vast majority of people are willing to pay for services with their privacy, and you have a situation where point-to-point encryption doesn't help much, at least not as far as state-sponsored privacy invasion goes.

For instance, Facebook is moving to require SSL for all of its users (or has already done so), but does this really do anything to allay concerns about institutionalized survellance? I would say, "no," because all of the users' personal information is still being neatly filed away in Facebook's storage facilities, same as before, and it is just as accessible to those with enough power as it ever was.

It is interesting how in the early days, before governments knew what do with it, the Internet really was a bastion of free speech and thought. Now, it is not much of a stretch to say that it has become one of the most powerful surveillance tools ever devised.

Re:use encryption (1)

jopsen (885607) | about a year ago | (#42163845)

I'm not that scared... Yes, point-to-point encryption isn't enough, as you can get direct access to the facilities... But that usual requires a warrant, if facebook start giving out information without warrant, they'll be liable to privacy suits. Probably regardless of what their EULA says, as court will probably find you can't waive your privacy.

Furthermore, we also have the EU working for data centers in EU, and working to ensure that there's some sort limit to what the US can do. Frankly, I have a lot of trust in the EU. I'm not saying that there isn't work to be done with regards to privacy online, but the picture isn't so dark...

Re:use encryption (1)

funtapaz (1406785) | about a year ago | (#42163775)

I'm probably being silly here, but what good does SSL do if the one who's looking to watch you can sit in the middle and intercept any keys you send over the network?

Re:use encryption (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42163945)

This is a nice idea, but it has several drawbacks...

1. You can't use encryption in isolation. Want to send your email encrypted? Your recipients are going to have to be able to decrypt your messages, so it's implicit that you are going to need to share encryption among a group of people.

2. The moment you start to encrypt traffic, you are drawing attention to yourself. Thousands of people use cars to travel every day, but if you insist on speeding, you will come to the attention of traffic police. Use encryption on the Internet, and you call attention to yourself in a similar way.

3. You have to be clear who you are protecting your communication from. If the answer is friend or family, then it might work. If your answer is that you hope to protect yourself from government intercept, you are kidding yourself. Every major nation has the ability to intercept and brute-force decrypt messages.

The simple story here is that, for most of us, encryption is a bit pointless.

Of course, that won't stop me using GPG with a maximum-strength key length and a *very* long pass phrase. My email is still crack-able, but only for anyone wiling to put in the time and effort...

Several former NSA members... (4, Interesting)

joocemann (1273720) | about a year ago | (#42163511)

... have come forward and discussed dragnet unconstitutional surveillance that they were personally involved with. Remember Tice?

But everyone was worried about the latest Linux build, who is suing who, or Kim Kardashian's ass...

Re:Several former NSA members... (4, Insightful)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#42163961)

Yes recall http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Room_641A [wikipedia.org]
They used a splitter, not at some optical landing site on the coast where you could say it was "international' traffic - the US gov went for domestic traffic in bulk.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/homefront/interviews/klein.html [pbs.org]
What was once for Soviet interests, corrupt Europeans, Soviet influenced journalists, academics, political and peace groups is now aimed at all in the USA with all the legal options that a "battlefront of the future" offers.

Re:Several former NSA members... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42164077)

Wait, The Who is suing W.H.O., or W.H.O. is suing The Who? It's a very important difference and I've very worried about it.

slashdot has been hijacked (1)

zugedneb (601299) | about a year ago | (#42163537)

The people nowdays scare the fuck out of me... WTF is with all theese "hate Gandhi" posts?
What happened to the educated lefties, who used to hang around here... Or was I smoking?

Re:slashdot has been hijacked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42163657)

They are some still around. Most, however, got jobs and internalized the dogmas of their managerial overlords.

Protest (4, Funny)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | about a year ago | (#42163577)

Let's send a message to those state spies. Maybe if we all download the filthiest pornography we can find and....

Oh. I see.

Never mind.

Re:Protest (1)

Dekker3D (989692) | about a year ago | (#42163791)

You misunderstand. That's part of the reason they want to spy on us all-... basic human desires. They're building the biggest repository of porn they can find, and any other juicy (not in that way) bits they can find are a nice catch on the side.

Except it's easier to tell the people "we're filtering to protect you from terrorists" than it is to say "we're filtering to get a copy of all your porn". I mean, who'd take -that- seriously?

It has been known for a while (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42163601)

There are evidence that various agency (not only the NSA/CIA!) have at central hubbing point special room where they intercept a lot of the comms. It has been known (for , what, 1 decade or even more ?) that if you want to have something communicated securely, you have to avoid certain communication channel, unless you use some very expansive form of encryption which can't be decoded (either transmit physically without electronic copy in diplomatic channels / electronically with OTP - very expansive due to the cost of physically distributing the cipher text for what should never be decoded if intercepted - or very long key cipher for what can be intercepted and decoded much later without damage). *shrug*. Nothing new here. It might concern a few people, maybe some corp or people not in love with their governement , but for the rest, information agencies, it is a known quantity.

Assange? (0, Flamebait)

MarkvW (1037596) | about a year ago | (#42163689)

Nice to know that Assange is so well informed, as he has been bundled up tight in the Ecuadorian embassy for quite some time.

That suspected sex offender/attention whore ought to realize that he ought to shut up because he is hurting his cause.

Oh, but he can't shut up . . . because he's an attention whore.

Business and Usual and Nothing New (0)

medv4380 (1604309) | about a year ago | (#42163711)

Is Julian really that much of an idiot, or is he just trying to play the Paranoia Violin. "Entire Nations are Intercepted" is a pretty bold paranoia claim. Now if he's just just over blowing the fact that every nation spys on each others international traffic then he should read a history book. The NSA has been in the business of trying to intercept international communications for a while now. I highly doubt the US can copy all of Russias Traffic or any others traffic. However, international communications are a different story, and any country or person thinking those kind of things haven't been business as usual is foolish.

The Net interprets censorship as damage... (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | about a year ago | (#42163801)

So whoever physically controls this controls the realm of our ideas and communications. And whoever is able to sit on those communications channels, can intercept entire nations,

The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.

Projects like Tor are popular in nations which are invasive in monitoring and blocking. They're not popular in countries which don't, because they're perceived as not being necessary. It won't take long for that to change if governments start stamping their boots.

Remember when Gmail and a lot of other services didn't use SSL by default (or in some cases, at all)? Now, it's practically unthinkable - in part because companies like Google and Twitter and Facebook want people to be able to use their services safely if they need to. They've recognized the power to do good that their services have.

Hell, these days you can't even detect what people are googling for by snooping on their traffic.

(sad to see that slashdot still doesn't support SSL.)

Re:The Net interprets censorship as damage... (1)

vux984 (928602) | about a year ago | (#42164199)

The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.

As long as the packets get through, it doesn't interpret that any damage has been done. Thus the net turns a pretty blind eye to SURVEILLANCE.

Remember when Gmail and a lot of other services didn't use SSL by default (or in some cases, at all)? Now, it's practically unthinkable - in part because companies like Google and Twitter and Facebook want people to be able to use their services safely if they need to. They've recognized the power to do good that their services have.

"safely" from who? When you use SSL to use a gmail service, Google is decrypting and logging everything at their end. You are somewhat safe from from 3rd party eavesdropping, and not at all safe from someone on Google eavesdropping.

Hell, these days you can't even detect what people are googling for by snooping on their traffic.

Right. I can't. But Google can. And anything that's on the "inside" can.

Don't forget the NSA built secret interception/surveillance rooms at AT%T. You really think they couldn't put a room inside Facebook or Google?

I blame the geeks (5, Interesting)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about a year ago | (#42163825)

Geeks are to blame for most of the loss of human rights on the net.

We write so much software that other geeks use, but can't seem to get a handle on ease-of-use or taking action.

If Thunderbird incorporated the equivalent of Enigmail [enigmail.net] from the start, lots of people would be using it now. The extra security would be a selling point, causing other applications to compensate by becoming compatible. Over time, every E-mail client would have been secure, some committee would have come up with a standard, and that would be the end of it.

If linux had encryption built into the OS (what are the functions of an OS anyway, if not to manage such things?) so that secure sockets were trivially available, the same thing would happen for other protocols.

Instead, we leave it as an exercise for the user. The user has to know that they want security, then know where and how to get it, then learn how to use it, then convince other people how to do the same. We leave encryption as an exercise to the coder, an add-on to be implemented in every new application.

We have a "reply to all" button, why can't we have a "make private if the recipient has encryption" button?

This sort of mass surveillance can only happen when the surveillance is easy. Why don't we just make it hard?

Instead of wailing and gnashing of teeth, how about we actually solve the problem?

Nota Bene: Yes, there are issues to be resolved, none of which are very difficult. No, perfect security is not attainable, but "good enough" security will help a lot. And no, none of the problems that come to mind are insurmountable.

La-li-lu-le-lo.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42163969)

This whole article screams a Kojima~ism.....

Working with the Belarus secret service (0)

gelfling (6534) | about a year ago | (#42164005)

Wikileaks openly works with the Belarus secret service to round up dissidents. Belarus is Europes last dictatorship and Wikileaks is a neo Stalinist front.

One ring to rule them all... (1)

Press2ToContinue (2424598) | about a year ago | (#42164037)

Julian's points about the power of big data resonates with me, since I work in and teach data warehousing. I show clients how to amass and structure massive amounts of data and datamine it so that they can identify customers who meet specific criteria, such as those who are more likely to buy beer, or who may be more likely to make insurance claims.

With Julian's insight, I can now see how, by storing the data of each web search, each facebook posting, each email, and each blip of a person's GPS, governments could identify (or think they identify) insurgents, rebels and general troublemakers even while they are only thinking of doing something, before they commit any crime. And I see no technical reason why this could not and is not being done currently, even in real-time. The irony is that the US was formed by rebels and insurgents, and now the US, with their ability to collect and mind this massive amount of data, would be in a position to be able to squash nascent insurgencies before they even occurred. It seems expeditious, and tempting. And so what if a few innocent people get swept up and go missing along with the "baddies?" Isn't the world better off as a whole? I can see the entire terrifying slippery-slope now. But maybe it hasn't yet occurred. We don't really know.

But Julian's point is that there is tipping point that can occur, and in fact, -will- occur, simply by collecting so much data and mining it, the system is already set up. Someone with access to those systems, and with enough legitimate power, would just have to create a different query, and then it all begins, and slowly slides down the slope with more and more queries targeting more and more key people, finding ways to "take them out" with their own weaknesses. Hence, this "turn-key" system is already in place, just waiting for the most basic of human characteristics: weakness and greed, to come along and turn the key and use it for one man's gain. Why not? If you saw a way to control the entire world, and it was just sitting there, silently, waiting for you to use it, wouldn't you be tempted?

One ring to rule them all...

Oh great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42164051)

Now he isn't just a douchebag, but also a retard.

"This message will self-destruct in 60 seconds..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42164197)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAYhNHhxN0A [youtube.com]

* "Welcome, to the REAL World..."

APK

P.S.=> Your mission, should you & your IM Force team accept it? Is to listen to that tune... See subject-line!

... apk

The opportunity at hand... (1)

3seas (184403) | about a year ago | (#42164209)

After 9/11 there was a telecom lawsuit of spying on Americans dismissed by the courts. The reason was said to have been looking for terrorist which was not technically possible, but what was possible was the monitoring of american attitudes and this spying coupled with controlled proproganda of the mainstream media provided a feedback loop for manipulating the american people.

This feedback loop process is still going on, being used.

The opportunity here is for an increasing number of Americans to become aware of this and to make use of what they want to communicate to those running teh feedback spying loop. Its an opportunity to educate the paranoid psychopathic authoritarians of the problem they face with their illness and as such proceed to nullify the damage those spying are causing in the propaganda they create based on the feedback loop.

The alternative is to run and hide and that is not going to solve anything, its not going to help anyone but those with mental illness to continue to believe their self supporting dependencies, their self fulfilling prophecy.

Time to make use of the opportunity! .

"Everybody's gotta fight to be free" (1)

boddhisatva (774894) | about a year ago | (#42164449)

Fight however can mean a lot of things but first of all it means strategy. Sun Tzu said that the epitome of excellence in warfare is to win the war without fighting a single battle. Barring that be smart. Forget what you learned from movies. Remember what you learned from playing Go. At the signing of the Vietnam Peace Treaty in Paris, essentially a surrender, an American general confronted a Vietnamese General and said "You never defeated us in battle!" The Vietnamese General replied 'That's irrelevant now isn't it?"
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