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Saudi Arabian Telecom Pitches to Moxie Marlinspike

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the indirect-terrorism dept.

Security 128

An anonymous reader sent in this excerpt from Moxie Marlinspike's weblog: "Last week I was contacted by an agent of Mobily, one of two telecoms operating in Saudi Arabia, about a surveillance project that they're working on in that country. Having published two reasonably popular MITM tools, it's not uncommon for me to get emails requesting that I help people with their interception projects. I typically don't respond, but this one (an email titled 'Solution for monitoring encrypted data on telecom') caught my eye. ... The requirements are the ability to both monitor and block mobile data communication, and apparently they already have blocking setup. ... When they eventually asked me for a price quote, and I indicated that I wasn't interested in the job for privacy reasons, they responded with this: ' I know that already and I have same thoughts like you freedom and respecting privacy, actually Saudi has a big terrorist problem and they are misusing these services for spreading terrorism and contacting and spreading their cause that's why I took this and I seek your help. If you are not interested than maybe you are on indirectly helping those who curb the freedom with their brutal activities.'"

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They should consult with the US Government, (4, Interesting)

pecosdave (536896) | about a year and a half ago | (#43717567)

our officials here have snooped on us in every way possible for years. When they can't figure out how to snoop (old Skype) they simply hire Microsoft to buy the company and add a back-door.

The Saudi's could learn a lot from us.

Re: They should consult with the US Government, (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43718209)

Quick! Move to Saudi Arabia while it's still free!

Re:They should consult with the US Government, (3, Informative)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year and a half ago | (#43718795)

The Saudi's could learn a lot from us.

You can bet they already have. The CIA has been actively propping up the ruling regime there for decades.

Why didn't he take it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43717577)

Did the Saudi's use M$?

Dumbass. (-1, Offtopic)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year and a half ago | (#43717587)

Running to /. and bitching about it is not going to make the situation better. Had he been serious about privacy concerns, he would have fucking taken the job and added a backdoor that leaked directly into wikileaks or some shit. Instead we have this for a story; not surprising and not even news, way to go.

Re:Dumbass. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43717605)

I bet if it was the US or UK government or some such that came a-knockin this person wouldn't have blabbed that fact all over the internets. But it's the Saudis and they're evil. Ok, I have no proof whatsoever of any potential double-standards and I'm no saint myself but just sayin.

Re:Dumbass. (4, Insightful)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year and a half ago | (#43717637)

I think the western governments would be a bit more clever than that. They have the resources to develop their own home grown spying tools. They don't need an outside consultant, which is what this guy would have been. Otherwise you'd be hearing about this kind of stuff all the time.

Re:Dumbass. (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43718243)

I think the western governments would be a bit more clever than that. They have the resources to develop their own home grown spying tools. They don't need an outside consultant, which is what this guy would have been. Otherwise you'd be hearing about this kind of stuff all the time.

Western governments employ a more than a few [washingtonpost.com] outside contractors for 'electronic operations'(and quite a few others for other purposes). They just aren't generally foolish enough to contact known, high-profile, security researchers with a history of publicity for sensitive work...

Re:Dumbass. (2, Insightful)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year and a half ago | (#43717673)

Well I guess that's your view then. I specifically didn't mention any nation, only "the job".

It's about high fucking time people in the western world realise that freedom cannot be passive. You can't just sit back in your armchair and blab. Be offensive, do a number on these scumbags. If he really, really cared about privacy he would have fought for the millions of people who are going to be spied on anyway, just not with his tool. This applies equally to the UK as it does to Saudi Arabia, this story just happens to be set in a country most people around here don't like.

People like the guy in the story makes me fucking sick. You realise that where you are born and the freedoms you enjoy are all PURE LUCK, and one of the few things in your life you have no control over. Why should freedom be restrained to people lucky enough to be born under a constitution? Spread the wealth.

Re:Dumbass. (2)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year and a half ago | (#43718203)

No, it is not luck. You got to pick your parents carefully.

Re:Dumbass. (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year and a half ago | (#43718245)

Messing with national governments can be a very dangerous game. If they found out he was planting a backdoor halfway through the project things could go south in a real hurry, and they'd have to be very incompetent not to have some sort of double blind checks in place. Even if he never entered the country he'd have to avoid it and everywhere it has an extradition treaty with (like India) forever. And what gain? Evidence that they are suppressing dissent, persecuting women? We already know that.

There are less risky ways to bring the fight to them.

Re:Dumbass. (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43718249)

Do tell me more about how he could have fought to bring freedom to the suffering Saudi masses...

Was he supposed to take the job, then use his access to covertly haxx0r the mainframe and destroy the Master Control Computer?

Re:Dumbass. (1)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about a year and a half ago | (#43720179)

Was he supposed to take the job, then use his access to covertly haxx0r the mainframe and destroy the Master Control Computer?

Program. Master Control Program, duh.

Saudi regime nurtures terrorism while attacking it (4, Informative)

Dogtanian (588974) | about a year and a half ago | (#43718307)

That's nice, except that the issue with the Saudi regime *itself* is that it's as much a part of the problem of terrorism as it is of the solution. That is, it presents two different faces to the world- the one it likes to present to the West, and the one it likes to present to the Wahhabist elements [wikipedia.org] within the country. They need to not merely tolerate, but pander to the latter in order to remain power.

(For those who didn't want to read the linked article, the tl;dr version is that Wahhabism is the Saudi-founded brand of Islam that Al-Qaeda et al espouse; if you've ever heard the term "Islamo-fascism", Wahhabism is the interpretation of Islam it's most likely referring to).

In other words, the Saudi regime is in the position of having to be blatantly two-faced about this; claiming to be cracking down on terrorism to their Western allies, while at the same time being one of the largest supporters of it.

Of course, the West knows this, but likes to pretend otherwise, because there's the inconvenient fact that they have lots of oil which we want. Regarding Western attitudes towards extremist Islamic terrorism, Saudi Arabia isn't merely the elephant in the room in the sense that it's a major factor- as the home and the heart of Wahhabism, it's arguably *the* central factor. Modern Saudi Arabia was *founded* on an agreement between Ibn Abd-al-Wahhab (the founder of Wahhabism) and the house of Saud to spread his teachings while the latter retained power. From Wikipedia:-

Upon arriving in Diriyya, a pact was made between Ibn Saud and Ibn Abd-al-Wahhab, by which Ibn Saud pledged to implement and enforce Ibn Abd-al-Wahhab's teachings, while Ibn Saud and his family would remain the temporal "leaders" of the movement.

Many of the alleged grievances of terrorists supporting Wahhabist organisations such as Al-Qaeda revolve around the supposed US "occupation" of Saudi Arabia. Yet, despite all this, you'll rarely hear Western politicians attack the Saudi regime for their covert tolerance of extremist elements. Why? See the start of this paragraph.

Re:Saudi regime nurtures terrorism while attacking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43718561)

Just pull a Lawrence and alter the arrangement.

Re:Saudi regime nurtures terrorism while attacking (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43719003)

In other words, the Saudi regime is in the position of having to be blatantly two-faced about this; claiming to be cracking down on terrorism to their Western allies, while at the same time being one of the largest supporters of it.

The Saudis have a very clear definition of terrorism:

When Islam-o-nuts set off bombs in Saudi Arabia, that's terrorism.
When Islam-o-nuts set off bombs in other countries, we should support jihad against the infidels.

Re:Saudi regime nurtures terrorism while attacking (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about a year and a half ago | (#43719197)

Correction;

(Final line) Why? See the start of this paragraph.

That's what I get for over-editing; this was originally part of the paragraph that started:-

Of course, the West knows this, but likes to pretend otherwise, because there's the inconvenient fact that they have lots of oil which we want.

Re:Dumbass. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43717679)

I bet if it was the US or UK government or some such that came a-knockin this person wouldn't have blabbed that fact all over the internets. But it's the Saudis and they're evil. Ok, I have no proof whatsoever of any potential double-standards and I'm no saint myself but just sayin.

Then you clearly don't know who Moxie Marlinspike is (which seems kind of odd, as he's an extremely well known security researcher).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moxie_Marlinspike
Aside fromt he fact that he's been championing against the certificate authority sytem because it gives the US too much power, there's also the fact that he's an anarchist (he's written anarchist pieces completely unrelated to technology, and founded the Anarchist Yacht Club). That the Saudis contacted him speaks volumes to their incompetence, imho.

Re:Dumbass. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43718183)

I know who he is now. I get the impression that he's kind of a big deal?

Re: Moxie (3, Interesting)

Ellie K (1804464) | about a year and a half ago | (#43718525)

Aside from the fact that he's been championing against the certificate authority system...

Yes! I was wondering when someone would mention this! Anyone who's curious can glance at Moxie's repositories on Github. It is exactly as you described, about his efforts to make a better certificate authority system. I don't know if it was because it gave the U.S. too much power, or because it was not especially reliable (I think DigiNotar or Digi something cert auth break happened around then), many other issues.

I have mixed feelings about Moxie. He's very much the Anarchist, rebel hax00r. But he isn't insufferably arrogant like some of his peers are. He's a good sailor (not yachts!); sometimes I like what he has to say. And he looks sweet, handsome in the one photo I've seen of him, not overstated or hipster-odious. Anyway, the last time I checked, Moxie was a Twitter employee.

Good point too about the oddity that "agents of a foreign power", whether Saudi Arabia or any other, would approach Moxie for such work. It is unlikely that Saudi Arabia would be less informed than you and I. Moxie has a hefty entry in Wikipedia. I even wrote a post on my hobby blog about one of his projects a few years ago! I have no doubt that retaining Moxie's services would be worthwhile. But there are many less visible, less vocal alternatives.

I wish I could say "thank you" to whomever submitted the original post here. Good find!

Re:Dumbass. (0)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year and a half ago | (#43717617)

If it was real, I'd be a bit leery about posting details to the public in a way that identifies himself. You never know if an Al-Saud crony might off him. That family themselves HAVE been tied to terrorist groups, or at least certain members of them.

Re:Dumbass. (-1)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year and a half ago | (#43717685)

Agreed, hence the subject title "dumbass". He's an idiot and gets off blabbing on the internet instead of doing real work that helps real people. Put in a backdoor and let it simmer for however long it takes. Build a whole library of secrets to leak. There is no end to all the fun that could have been had at these terrorist's expense. Shit, if he'd been lucky, he might have been able to implicate quite a number of western corporations for all kinds of dubious shit, it is an oil state remember.

Re:Dumbass. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43717775)

instead of doing real work that helps real people.

Are we talking about the same Moxie Marlinspike?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moxie_Marlinspike
Who wrote things like:
http://convergence.io/details.html
https://github.com/WhisperSystems/RedPhone
https://github.com/WhisperSystems/TextSecure/
(aguably the most used encrypted communications apps for Android)
http://tack.io/
http://www.audioanarchy.org/
http://www.blueanarchy.org/
https://www.cloudcracker.com/

I could go on. Hell, I haven't even gotten to the talks he's done and the vulnerabilities he's disclosed.
Seriously, if you're that dismissive of Moxie Marlinspike, you MUST have cured a major disease or something. Please, do tell.

Re: Moxie (1)

Ellie K (1804464) | about a year and a half ago | (#43718603)

I'm really surprised that Moxie isn't more well-known around here. I just commented earlier about Moxie's Github repositories. I'm not a sycophant, and realize that Moxie has a lot of fans. He has done good work, regardless of politics or advocacy.

I'm more amazed he's not more well known.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43718915)

Given that we've had at least what, a half dozen stories about him on the front page of slashdot, at least 2-3 of them in the past 5-6 years?

Re:Dumbass. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43718493)

You're quite the dipshit, aren't you?

Re:Dumbass. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43718721)

he already knows the saudis sent emails to him. no need to worry about that.

I'd be worried about just traveling to saudi arabia even if they have no beef with me. fuck 'em and their politics - and especially fuck their police.

Re:Dumbass. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43718835)

Who the fuck travels to Saudi Arabia unless they absolutely have to? I mean, the smell there must be indescribable. I bet even the best hotel smells like a powerful mix of a populace that barely bathes combined with camel turd.

Fucktard (4, Insightful)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about a year and a half ago | (#43717797)

He didn't come running to slash dot he posted it to his blog! Someone else posted it to slash dot so take your foot out of your mouth and shove it back up your arse.

Re:Dumbass. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43718277)

I think he's just pointing out their attempt at reverse psychology. For those unfamiliar with it you can think back to Bugs Bunny changing his position to "Rabbit Season" in order to fool Daffy Duck into claiming that it was "Duck Season".

Re:Dumbass. (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | about a year and a half ago | (#43718331)

That sounds like an excellent way to get assassinated.

Re:Dumbass. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43718369)

You're the dumb one. He didn't post it to /., someone who reads his blog has.

Re:Dumbass. (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year and a half ago | (#43719079)

That would have been akin to suicide. Not only is that a serious contract violation, this is a security breach in a country with both significant funds and extreme interests from several Western and Eastern intelligence agencies.

Pulling off shit like that is a sure ticket to one day being added to list of people who vanished without trace or getting found dead from overdose of drugs in a hotel room. People in intelligence have decades of experience in tracking people like OP when they work for them and finding their backdoors.

Re:Dumbass. (1)

jameshofo (1454841) | about a year and a half ago | (#43719979)

No, just no.

Yeah, yeah (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43717601)

If you don't spy on your own people, the terrorists win. Heard it all before.

Saudi Arabia won''t last (5, Interesting)

vikingpower (768921) | about a year and a half ago | (#43717603)

The ruling al-Saud family will soon have to come with a follow-up for the current king. In the same time, a complete army of foreign experts & technicians is required to keep the entire Saudi infrastructure ( telco, roads, water supply, power generation ) running. Moreover, the Saudi government is continuously spying upon its citizens, as a habit. Women are slowly beginning to protest against the enormous discrimination and contempt they live under.

All of this taken together mixes up quite explosively. Mark my words: 25 years from now, Saudi Arabia as we know it will have gone down

Re:Saudi Arabia won''t last (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | about a year and a half ago | (#43718055)

The ruling al-Saud family will soon have to come with a follow-up for the current king. In the same time, a complete army of foreign experts & technicians is required to keep the entire Saudi infrastructure ( telco, roads, water supply, power generation ) running. Moreover, the Saudi government is continuously spying upon its citizens, as a habit. Women are slowly beginning to protest against the enormous discrimination and contempt they live under.

All of this taken together mixes up quite explosively. Mark my words: 25 years from now, Saudi Arabia as we know it will have gone down

Sooner than that, I think. The succession passes brother to brother among the sons of Abdulaziz. The youngest was born in the mid 1940s. The available heirs are getting older and older very very fast.

When the brothers are all gone, Saudi Arabia will fall into chaos and that could happen in the next few years.

Re:Saudi Arabia won''t last (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | about a year and a half ago | (#43718263)

I it happens it'll affect the oil supply and that will throw the entire planet into chaos. The house of Saud is necessary.

Re:Saudi Arabia won''t last (2)

Tokolosh (1256448) | about a year and a half ago | (#43718735)

Oil at $30/bbl will collapse the House of Saud and nobody will care.

http://www.icis.com/blogs/chemicals-and-the-economy/2013/05/oil-markets-risk-rapid-reprici-1.html [icis.com]

Re:Saudi Arabia won''t last (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43719395)

>> The house of Saud is necessary.

The oil can be exploited by any old despot, monarch, or dictator.

Re:Saudi Arabia won''t last (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | about a year and a half ago | (#43719601)

And what about the chaos in the mean time? Also there is no guarantee religious fanatics would be willing to play by rational rules. They would be more likely to hold the oil supply hostage as a weapon.

Re:Saudi Arabia won''t last (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43720601)

So, fine. It'll be there after we've liberated the shit out of them. In the interim, we'll have higher fuel prices. Big whoop.

Re:Saudi Arabia won''t last (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43719253)

Oh please. If you can explain why your argument applies to succession in Saudi Arabia, but not why it applies to North Korea, I'll take it seriously.

Re:Saudi Arabia won''t last (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | about a year and a half ago | (#43720537)

Oh please. If you can explain why your argument applies to succession in Saudi Arabia, but not why it applies to North Korea, I'll take it seriously.

Oh wow ok then, I really feel that I need to be taken seriously by some Anonymous Coward on Slashdot!

First let me say, I never mentioned North Korea. Second let me say, WHY THE FUCK should I care whether you take this seriously?

Re:Saudi Arabia won''t last (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | about a year and a half ago | (#43718257)

The discrimination against women is not a result of the royal family. It's a result of the capitulation of the royal family to the demands of the religious fanatics to avoid seeming insufficiently Islamic. If the house of Saud falls, things will get much, much worse for anybody who isn't a straight, Sunni Muslim, male.

Re:Saudi Arabia won''t last (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#43719319)

The house of Saudi is essentially ceremonial, like the Queen of England. The terrorists already run the country, and with western/eastern help have spread worldwide, who, in case you haven't noticed, are reveling in the total destruction. So when the Great Pirates once again bring order to the galaxy, they will be heroes.

Re:Saudi Arabia won''t last (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43718259)

Hopefully we'll manage to finish repatriating all that American oil they went and put their country on top of before that happens...

Re:Saudi Arabia won''t last (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | about a year and a half ago | (#43719421)

*democratize that oil

Re:Saudi Arabia won''t last (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43718453)

Yeah right, and there will be peace in the Middle East within the next 100 years.

Re:Saudi Arabia won''t last (1)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | about a year and a half ago | (#43718825)

Mark my words: 25 years from now, Saudi Arabia as we know it will have gone down

I agree with you, but my fear is that what's going to replace it will be much much worse. The Arab Spring has shown that if given the choice, Muslims will choose to enslave themselves in repressive Islamo-fascist regimes. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the successor regime to the House of Saud ends up being Osama Bin Laden's dream government. Even Turkey has gone backwards. 10 years ago they had a legitimate shot at joining the EU and now the unspoken truth is that the EU will never let them in because they fear what they have already become and they fear that they could get even worse.

Re:Saudi Arabia won''t last (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#43719361)

They weren't given a 'choice'. It was the choice they were given. The only thing that bloomed during the "Arab Spring" was the arms trade..

Cracks are forming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43717609)

It will quickly be forgotten as the march of internet history steamrolls entire states, but the general framing of this Saudi guy's response showing that tiny cracks are already forming in these societies. This guy's bosses probably doesn't understand that continually framing your opinion as "I care about freedom" will begin to rewire everything and they'll wake up one day with one less brick in their walls.

Not sure if troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43717621)

or just an asshole

Dictatorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43717623)

Saudi Arabia is a dictatorship, they rule by an army inducing terror on a populace, not because the populace chose the leadership.

Terrorist in that sense is just a term dictators apply to their opponents. Syria and Assad springs to mind, he calls the opponents terrorists for objecting to him being dictator. Israel and Gaza Palastinians is another example of using the terrorist label to suppress an opponent.

Re:Dictatorship (1)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | about a year and a half ago | (#43717719)

Far be it from me to make fun of a bad situation, but I wonder if the spin doctors who come up with these labels for their legitimate opponents have a BOFH-style excuse calendar to pick who they're blaming everything on this month?

Re:Dictatorship (3, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year and a half ago | (#43717747)

Saudi Arabia is a dictatorship, they rule by an army inducing terror on a populace, not because the populace chose the leadership.

The problem is that in Muslim countries the political system they chose is invariably worse. Libya is worse than it was under Gaddafi [rt.com] , Egypt is worse now than under Mubarak [telegraph.co.uk] , Iraq is worse than under Saddam Husain [newstatesman.com] , and Afghanistan is infinitely worse off than it was under Soviet rule [guardian.co.uk] .

Yes, Saudi Arabia is bad, but anything that keeps the Muslims under control is better than letting them have their way .... which is not giving them freedom but allowing them to murder, kill, and rape others as well as killing eachother and removing freedoms under sectarian Sharia militias.

Re:Dictatorship (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43718229)

Are people modding this down because they don't like the facts? Chrisq has given references from reliable sources showing that where there has been a popular uprising in an Islamic country things have got worse. Do you dispute this or do you just not like the truth?

Re:Dictatorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43718281)

People are downmodding because it takes the evidence of "uprisings going badly and things being crap shortly afterwards" and turns it into religious hatred with poor justification.

Re:Dictatorship (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year and a half ago | (#43718935)

Yes, because there is certainly no pattern there. It's not like these were all moderate Muslim countries whose dictators were overthrown and whose populace elected radical Muslims into power the second they got democracy.

Oh, wait....

Re:Dictatorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43718549)

I don't think I'd call RT a reliable source. Libya is slowly improving even if the same can't be said about any of the others. Afghanistan would be quite stable if not for extensive external support being provided to the Tabliban - they lack enough momentum within the country to maintain their movement, and consequentially it has decayed from within despite the appearance of greater effectivity.
The failures in Egypt and Saudi Arabia rest more than anything else with runaway overpopulation far outstripping what the countries' resources can support. Since the revolution Egypt has seen its birth rate increase and family planning go into decline. Many Islamists take the "Islam can feed any number" line.

Re:Dictatorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43719221)

Saudi Arabia is a dictatorship, they rule by an army inducing terror on a populace, not because the populace chose the leadership.

The problem is that in Muslim countries the political system they chose is invariably worse. Libya is worse than it was under Gaddafi [rt.com] , Egypt is worse now than under Mubarak [telegraph.co.uk] , Iraq is worse than under Saddam Husain [newstatesman.com] , and Afghanistan is infinitely worse off than it was under Soviet rule [guardian.co.uk] .

Yes, Saudi Arabia is bad, but anything that keeps the Muslims under control is better than letting them have their way .... which is not giving them freedom but allowing them to murder, kill, and rape others as well as killing eachother and removing freedoms under sectarian Sharia militias.

"How do you pick who can vote when the average person votes badly and selfishly?" That is the central question of Starship Troopers (the book, not the movie). One could easily argue many western states get pushed worse off over time due to democracy.

I'm not advocating any particular view here, other than maybe we could do with a little self introspection.

Re:Dictatorship (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | about a year and a half ago | (#43719505)

Dunno, seems to me that the world's democracies have outlasted any Islamic nation's form of government, and are still doing pretty well -- and better and better relative to those Islamic nations over the course of time.

Re:Dictatorship (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | about a year and a half ago | (#43720627)

Dunno, seems to me that the world's democracies have outlasted any Islamic nation's form of government, and are still doing pretty well -- and better and better relative to those Islamic nations over the course of time.

Thats because the foundational principle of the modern democracy is to keep the mass of people believing that they have some say in things and to preserve this illusion by presenting the face of a chaotic, randomly changing elected government. Democratically 'elected' government is about as organised as Brownian motion.

The reality, which is where the extreme stability comes in, is that the elections are a sham and the real power is wielded well behind the scenes by powers that can make or break any elected politician at a whim.

Ie its not amazingly stable and successful because Joe Public is allowed to have a say in how the country is run. Its amazingly stable and successful because Joe Public is kept well the fuck away from running the country.

Good thing, bad thing, I don't know. Not going to make a value judgement on that yet.

He's right (0)

sonamchauhan (587356) | about a year and a half ago | (#43717631)

The Saudi bloke seems to have said nothing wrong... and he is sincere. Which is more than you can say about Moxie -- who's protecting "privacy" by revealing one side of a private conversation.

Re:He's right (2)

sonamchauhan (587356) | about a year and a half ago | (#43717649)

Actually, let me reverse my own comment... (having read up on Saudi Arabia's human right's record).

The issue is the Saudi's can target terror with these MITM tools -- true. But they also have a track record targeting basic human rights (free press, faith).

Moxie is well within his rights turning down the job. However, its best he did not reveal the name of the Saudi gent (who still seems sincere).

Re:He's right (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43717701)

Wait... so your conditions for a government being able to intercept all communications consist solely of their "human rights record"? And you see nothing wrong with this?

Re:He's right (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | about a year and a half ago | (#43718085)

No, they'd be something akin to a wiretap warrant issued by (mostly) just judges following (mostly) just laws.

They do have significant terror issues and want to be able to do these intercepts...

The problem is their track record on human rights. Being ruled by just laws is a human right. It's upto Moxie. But have you considered the implications of moxie revealing this man's name. Think about it Mr. ..? Mr. Anonymous Coward.

And btw, your govt. is *able* to intercept communications. Including this. But I think you mean intercept all comms

Re:He's right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43717711)

"If you are not interested than maybe you are on indirectly helping those who curb the freedom with their brutal activities."

That "agent" can go fuck himself.

Re:He's right (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | about a year and a half ago | (#43718067)

Actually, let me reverse my own comment... (having read up on Saudi Arabia's human right's record).

The issue is the Saudi's can target terror with these MITM tools -- true. But they also have a track record targeting basic human rights (free press, faith).

Moxie is well within his rights turning down the job. However, its best he did not reveal the name of the Saudi gent (who still seems sincere).

I'm sure the Saudis would be interested in people seeking to free slaves as well.

Re:He's right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43720155)

You cannot expect a conversation to stay "private". Make me an unpleasant offer, and I will tell the world what you are up to. I do not protect your dirty secrets.

I have exposed people who harassed med in "private email". He could not beleive I would do that - I could not believe he had any expectation of pricacy whatsoever. The rule is really simple - attack me, and I fight back in some way.

Typical Bully Line (1)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | about a year and a half ago | (#43717691)

"If you're not with us, you're against us."

That's really the best line they can come up with? I just got a faint ping on my dubiousonar.

Re:Typical Bully Line (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43717761)

I used to get this line a lot after writing some papers on/developing a darknet. I was even harassed about it by a government employee at a conference.

It's the same old weary rhetoric they use to push controversial legislation; Terrorism and child protection. These are the two things that governments have spread enough FUD about to immediately silence any debate on the protection of privacy.

It's not just citizens under oppressive regimes that have to operate under the premise that they are being monitored. Fellow EU citizens cluck their tongues in their ivory towers at the policy in the US and the UK, but seem to forget that they allowed legislation to pass in the region which allows the capture and mining of all communications therein.

Re:Typical Bully Line (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43718749)

"If you're not with us, you're against us."

That's really the best line they can come up with? I just got a faint ping on my dubiousonar.

well, they had to come up with SOMETHING.
you know, since their emails were being read by the state thought police and of course they know it.

once you get enough gestapo going on in a country, the communications cease to be to the person they're addressed to and end up being done for the sake of the people running surveillance - and even the people running the surveillance come trapped in the surveillance - like 4 stasi agents ratting each other out after trying to get each other to perform some crime or another.

Re:Typical Bully Line (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | about a year and a half ago | (#43719575)

Being fair though, while the line was a bit over the top starring sylvester stallone, it was pretty valid to make.

Moxie refused for a set of reasons, the agent pointed out that by refusing for those reasons, that though the work could possibly be used to violate principals Moxie does not wish violated -- that by refusing the work, Moxie would be allowing a greater form of evil to continue for fear of creating a smaller form of evil.

I mean, I'm not saying I AGREE with anyone here, but I believe that's what the agent believes. And I can totally sympathize, with ALL parties involved, because if fighting the evil of mankind was simple and easy everyone would be doing it

Moxie should work as a free agent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43717717)

Moxie should work with social networks / communications systems to help secure them against such attacks. He's shown that he won't compromise on the matter, so hopefully the offers come in from WhatsApp and others to hire him as a secure communications consultant.

The government view - us and them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43717833)

The most interesting thing about the whole episode for me is that the person who is ostensibly in charge of things responds to MM's refusal to help by basically saying "if you are not helping us with blanket surveillance of our population in our efforts to find terrorists, then you must be either working with or sympathetic to those terrorists".
I can understand the Saudis being sensitive to terrorist threats - they are a repressive monarchy; Osama bin Laden was a Saudi citizen... the bin Laden family is very close to the Saudi Royal Family; and the Arab Spring clearly changed the face of arabic politics and government, and anyone looking to depose the monarchy or force change faster than the king can push the more conservative clerics in his ruling circle will be seen as some variant of terrorist, I am sure.

Plus the status of the Arabic members of society in Saudi Arabia basically means that they are not used to their requests/demands being refused unless the request is being made of another arab, so there is an element of "toys being thrown out of the pram" there.

Point of view (3, Insightful)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#43717841)

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

Re:Point of view (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43718031)

Terrorism is a tactic.

You can fight for freedom without resorting to terrorism, you can be a terrorist without having any interest in freedom.

Sure you get a media bias and "friendly" governments tend get a pass, but really it has nothing to do with which side you are on and everything to do with what you actually do.

Re:Point of view (1)

evensteven6 (2922781) | about a year and a half ago | (#43718041)

yeah no kidding

Re:Point of view (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43718101)

Also, one man's terrorist is another man's agent.

blocking revolution facilitating tools (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43717913)

the participants in the "arab spring" used a variety of tools to facilitate and coordinate their activities - including twitter.

The saudis have since bought a major stake in twitter. I wonder why..

So this article is no doubt just a part of what they are doing to stop being overthrown.

Re:blocking revolution facilitating tools (3, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year and a half ago | (#43717935)

the participants in the "arab spring" used a variety of tools to facilitate and coordinate their activities

I'm glad you used quotes around "arab spring", in reality it has turned out to be an islamist winter [washingtontimes.com] .

Re:blocking revolution facilitating tools (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#43719451)

Yeah, right, ...due to lack of U.S. 'leadership' (translation: outside meddling)?

Re:blocking revolution facilitating tools (1)

tqk (413719) | about a year and a half ago | (#43719859)

I'm glad you used quotes around "arab spring", in reality it has turned out to be an islamist winter [washingtontimes.com].

That's from Oct. 2011. "This won't turn out well, kids!"

Why does it appear we're experiencing a full court press denouncing the Arab Spring this morning? Were you guys there poo pooing Hungary's and Czechoslovakia's attempted revolts too? Revolutions can be messy and all of these countries have a lot of messy stuff lingering from their previous regimes. We're still waiting for Russia to get over its problems after "getting rid of the Soviets" (chyaa, right!). Hell, we're still waiting for the UK to get over its British Empire crap.

What's the real agenda you're pushing? You remind me of GHWB's reticence to recognize the fall of the Soviets. I thought freedom was considered a good thing.

How much were they paying ?? (1)

nomad63 (686331) | about a year and a half ago | (#43717933)

If you don't do it, somebody will. If the price is right, why not that somebody be me ? We are living the biggest capitalist economy of the world. And money makes the world go round, despite what some nut-jobs believe...

was it really a saudi agent? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43717943)

Why does everyone assume it really was a Saudi agent? Could just as well have been a western agent testing him.

A sign of problems in the CA system (1)

andrew3 (2250992) | about a year and a half ago | (#43717957)

From Ars Technica [arstechnica.com] :

"One of the design documents that they volunteered specifically called out compelling a [certificate authority] in the jurisdiction of the UAE or Saudi Arabia to produce SSL certificates that they could use for interception," Marlinspike wrote in a blog post.

Clearly there is something wrong with the public key infrastructure on the web.

Saudis? Or somebody closer to home.... (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | about a year and a half ago | (#43718139)

' I know that already and I have same thoughts like you freedom and respecting privacy, actually Saudi has a big terrorist problem and they are misusing these services for spreading terrorism and contacting and spreading their cause that's why I took this and I seek your help. If you are not interested than maybe you are on indirectly helping those who curb the freedom with their brutal activities.'"

Is this a quote from the Saudi government? Sounds like something Canada's Vic Toews would say. Or maybe somebody from Washington D.C.....

I'm confused.....

Re:Saudis? Or somebody closer to home.... (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | about a year and a half ago | (#43719621)

You're expecting too much. I've yet to find a business anywhere that didn't send out personal communications with poor spelling and grammar and punctuation, and I've yet to find out that hasn't posted signage on their premises somewhere that is void of typos.

If I see one more " thank's! " in my life.. it won't matter, because one is already too many. how do you even fucking make a mistake like that good fucking.....

Moxie (0)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year and a half ago | (#43718309)

Smart guy, but a bit of a windbag. Expressing himself clearly obviously isn't one of his strong suits.

And TBH, betraying a confidence and humiliating people in public also rates as unethical. I normally don't give a damn about muslims, but that's pretty rude.

"who curb the freedom with their brutal activities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43718373)

Uh, Saudi Arabia? The country where women are not allowed to move in public without their male warden (usually husband, brother, or father) or they'll both get flogged? Death penalty for homosexuality? Death penalty for spreading non-Islamic religions? Draconic penalties (not excluding death penalty) for bartering in alcohol?

We are not talking about "curb the freedom" here but rather "impact reliably cheap oil prices". Which is the same as far as the U.S. is concerned since whatever happens out of America stays out of America.

Re:"who curb the freedom with their brutal activit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43718543)

They don't do those things in SA. But when I was stationed in SA and these holier than though punks would go to Bahrain they were drinking and whoring like there was no tomorrow.

Moxie's To-Do list: Don't go to Saudi Arbia (1)

Craefter (71540) | about a year and a half ago | (#43718397)

In their twisted for of reality they could arrest you for "aiding the enemy".

In other news: Don't go to the States, you could get arrested for downloading a song.

Those who are not with us are against us? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43718483)

Since the guy was invoking anecdotes, give him this one: "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

No Problem (1)

jasper160 (2642717) | about a year and a half ago | (#43718521)

Cisco, Bluecoat, or on of the other big firms will "help" them.

failzorss! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43718605)

#NiGgers everywhere

Moxie's Yacht Delivery to Saudi Going Wrong (1)

Ash Vince (602485) | about a year and a half ago | (#43718775)

In next weeks slashdot I expect to see something about Moxie Marlinspike being asked to deliver a nice shiny yacht to Saudi Arabia and it going horribly wrong when he gets arrested for piracy :)

Do not get involved (1)

koan (80826) | about a year and a half ago | (#43720169)

Your ethics won't be the only thing in danger.

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