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Inside PRISM: Why the Government Hates Encryption

timothy posted about a year ago | from the they-hate-envelopes-too dept.

Privacy 457

Lauren Weinstein writes "Now, what's really going on with PRISM? The government admits that the program exists, but says it is being 'mischaracterized' in significant ways (always a risk with secret projects sucking up information about your citizens' personal lives). The Internet firms named in the leaked documents are denying that they have provided 'back doors' to the government for data access. Who is telling the truth? Likely both. Based on previous information and the new leaks, we can make some pretty logical guesses about the actual shape of all this. Here's my take."

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457 comments

Strange (0, Troll)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about a year ago | (#43942315)

I work for the government, and we use commercial products to encrypt most everything.

Re:Strange (5, Insightful)

x_t0ken_407 (2716535) | about a year ago | (#43942431)

s/Hates/Hates\ When\ Citizens\ Use

Re:Strange (-1, Troll)

SuckingTadpoles (2945193) | about a year ago | (#43942481)

I've come here to say that my rancid, feces-filled asshole absolutely adores sucking the tadpoles out of fetid cocks. With your tadpoles and my feces combined, we'll be an unstoppable force! What say you?

Morons (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942479)

I work for the government, and we use commercial products to encrypt most everything.

what they're talking about here is when government needs to spy on citizens. Government harts encryption because it means they have to get off of their overpaid fat asses and actually work.

You know, it's much easier to listen in on a citizen and see if they maybe committing a crime than actually getting evidence and building a case.

Because you see, Government workers only work from 12 - 1 with a one hour lunch break and they need all the breaks they can get - like eliminating the Fourth Amendment.

If they were really qualified, they'd get a real job. Which may explain why some third world douchebags got around the US' surveillance - The FBI, NSA, CIA are just too stupid, moronic, retarded to actually work within the Constitution of the United States of America and therefore have to violate it in order to do - attempt - their job.

If they were truly smart, they could work within the confines of the Constitution. But they can't - they are stupid. The terrorists are smart and we're dog meat because our security services are stupid.

Security services have to eliminate basic freedoms to achieve their goals; which means they are morons.

QED.

I'm thinking of being a criminal because they are too stupid to catch me and I got student loans to pay off.

If they got lucky and catch me, well, they'd just pay me to consult and make them look good.

Morons.

Re:Morons (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942733)

If they got lucky and catch me, well, they'd just pay me to consult and make them look good.

Morons.

But first, they lock you in a small room with the Tossed Salad Man, just to be sure you cooperate when they make their offer.

Re:Morons (5, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#43942987)

"The terrorists are smart and we're dog meat"

Yet more evidence that the terrorists have won. We have here yet another citizen who believes that terrorism is a major problem. Each and every day, more Americans die in automobile accidents, than the terrorists have managed to kill since 9/11/01. Yet, "we're dog meat" because of terrorists.

Far to few Americans have any balls these days. Is it something in the diet? To many drugs? To much brain washing? What is it that causes Americans to whine like whipped dogs? "we're dog meat".

On the day of the Boston Marathon bombings, I saw a lot of people who have a bit of fortitude running TOWARD the explosions, to care for their fellow citizens. People with big brass balls, who understood that something bad had happened, and decided that they should disregard the potential for further explosions. Most of the severely injured have survived because all those people ran toward the disaster, and not away from it. The crowd at the marathon bombing made me proud.

This "we're dog meat" shit is embarrassing as all hell. I can see why he posted as AC.

Utter BS, trust no-one, including you. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942341)

Utter BS, trust no-one, including you.

Re:Utter BS, trust no-one, including you. (1)

tqk (413719) | about a year ago | (#43942449)

Utter BS, trust no-one, including you.

You don't trust Lauren Weinstein [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Utter BS, trust no-one, including you. (-1, Troll)

SuckingTadpoles (2945193) | about a year ago | (#43942485)

Do you have any idea why I'm wiggling my rancid rectum right in front of your putrid cock? Well, do you? What say you, hm?

Re:Utter BS, trust no-one, including you. (-1, Offtopic)

tqk (413719) | about a year ago | (#43942871)

Let me guess. You're under the mistaken impression that you actually matter in some way or another, yes? So, do you like goldfish?

Re:Utter BS, trust no-one, including you. (1, Troll)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#43942713)

I'll trust a dude with a beard on a bike with leather long before I'll trust a pig in a car with a donut or any other civil servant. Granted, that is not saying a lot.

Re:Utter BS, trust no-one, including you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942997)

Wow, so that's what it's like to just barely break the surface of fame, and then slip back beneath it. When they finally delete is Wiki article over notability concerns, his 15 minutes are up I guess.

Re:Utter BS, trust no-one, including you. (3, Funny)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#43942695)

Bu- bu- but Obama said that they're not listening into our phone calls and not to worry and everyone else says if I'm not doing anything wrong then I don't have anything to hide and should just shut the fuck up because I'm being paranoid...!

Definitions. (4, Insightful)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year ago | (#43942359)

The government admits that the program exists, but says it is being 'mischaracterized' in significant ways ... The Internet firms named in the leaked documents are denying that they have provided 'back doors' to the government for data access. Who is telling the truth? Likely both.

Considering that the government is not saying anything in particular, it is easy to tell the truth here. When they defend the program as a "crucial tool in war on terrorism", that's quite possibly the honest truth since neither that "war" nor "terrorism" has been defined to any degree. Thus anything could be a crucial tool.

Re:Definitions. (5, Insightful)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | about a year ago | (#43942543)

If they are willing to do things like define all military age males as militants [salon.com] to avoid admitting to civilian casualties from drone attacks you know they don't have a problem redefining pretty much any word in order to avoid being held accountable to the people.

Re:Definitions. (1, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#43942877)

If they are willing to do things like define all military age males as militants

There's a little more to it than that. It actually says they define all military age males in a strike zone as militants, which is a little bit different.

After all, the particular event that inspired this story took place on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. If you were a "military age male" on the Afghani/Pakistan border and were NOT a militant, wouldn't you get the fuck out of there?

It's not like when the US bombed Dresden, or the Germans bombed London during WWII, they went to any great pains to make sure their bombs only hit uniformed members of the military.

Yes, it's very brutal, but I still think it's too early to tell whether the drone strikes are a policy that works. If you make it so nobody wants to be anywhere near the militants unless they are fighting alongside them, then it will be very easy to tell who is a militant and who is not.

Personally, I think the whole thing is barbaric and unnecessary and we shouldn't be doing it. At all. It's immoral. But whether or not it minimizes civilian casualties compared to carpet-bombing followed by an all-out invasion still remains to be determined.

Re:Definitions. (5, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year ago | (#43943019)

After all, the particular event that inspired this story took place on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. If you were a "military age male" on the Afghani/Pakistan border and were NOT a militant, wouldn't you get the fuck out of there?

Let me turn that on your head. If you had been living in your family home for all your life and a bunch of hoodlums came into your neighborhood and started shooting up the place, would you A. leave, or B. stay to spite them? Many people would choose A., but many would choose B.

If you make it so nobody wants to be anywhere near the militants unless they are fighting alongside them, then it will be very easy to tell who is a militant and who is not.

Wrong. You don't make it so nobody wants to be anywhere near the militants. You teach the families of the innocent victims to hate America and Americans for assuming guilt by proximity. There's a difference. It is policies like these that fuel terrorism and anti-American sentiment around the globe.

it just occurred to me (5, Insightful)

ze_nexus (1123017) | about a year ago | (#43942369)

that if our government really has all of this data then China has it too

Re:it just occurred to me (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#43942471)

Thanks for bringing up China.

On the eve of Obama's meeting with President Jinping, any conversations about Chinese espionage is going to be quite embarrassing.

Re:it just occurred to me (4, Funny)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43942533)

On the eve of Obama's meeting with President Jinping, any conversations about Chinese espionage is going to be quite embarrassing.

That's it! The Chinese found out about this through their hacking, and leaked it to the press to avoid complaints about their hacking. Is there anything like a Pulitzer Prize for conspiracy theories?

Re:it just occurred to me (1)

memnock (466995) | about a year ago | (#43942897)

China's hacking and the U.S. federal government's surveillance are two different things. China is foreign entity that is competing with (if not confronting) another international player.

What the feds are doing is spying on its constituents, the people it supposedly is supposed to represent and be beholden to. There SHOULD be no competing interest between a people and its government. Apparently though, our own government seems to hold us all as potential opponents.

So Obama shouldn't be worried about confronting China's electronic intrusions. It's only right to warn off a competitor (opponent) when you catch them doing something illegal and threatening. Comparing China's hacking to federal surveillance is an apples to oranges comparison.

On the other hand, Obama SHOULD be worried about facing up to the citizens about abusing government's ability to surveil its own constituents. However, who is holding his feet to the fire?

back door? (3, Interesting)

stanlyb (1839382) | about a year ago | (#43942393)

What about the front door? Did anyone denied access to the front door? What about any door? What about the room? Did anyone, explicitly denied any kind of access?

Rogue employees (5, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#43942415)

There's always the chance that NSA has Google employees on its payroll that are tasked with secretly handing off data. They could even be there under a verbal handshake agreement with Google management, giving Google plausible deniability in case they are ever discovered: "I'm shocked, shocked to find that data gathering is going on in here!"

Then everyone is happy - the NSA gets their data, and Google can legitimately say that "they" are not handing over data to the NSA.

And since secret FISA orders can apparently compel anyone to do just about anything and keep it a secret, there's nothing illegal about it.

Re:Rogue employees (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43942463)

Possibly but I have to think at least some of these billionaires would say hold on, and buy a half hour block of TV that evening to have a chat with America.

Re:Rogue employees (4, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#43942513)

Possibly but I have to think at least some of these billionaires would say hold on, and buy a half hour block of TV that evening to have a chat with America.

"Sergey and Larry, we know the Justice department has been hard on your company, and we've heard that they are going to open a lot more probes into your business practices, you'll be deposed so many times that you may as well move to Washington DC. I think we could make things better for you if you'll just agree to let us put a few of our employees in your datacenters....as a token showing of good faith, we're giving you use of NASA's runway at Moffett Field for your little 767 jet"

Re:Rogue employees (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43942527)

I have to think at least some of these billionaires would say hold on, and buy a half hour block of TV that evening to have a chat with America.

And put themselves out of business? Not likely.

Re:Rogue employees (0)

Qzukk (229616) | about a year ago | (#43942591)

How'd that work for the CEO of Qwest when he refused to let Bush listen in on everything?

Re:Rogue employees (1)

Lloyd_Bryant (73136) | about a year ago | (#43942637)

Possibly but I have to think at least some of these billionaires would say hold on, and buy a half hour block of TV that evening to have a chat with America.

Why? Given the cost of 30 minutes of prime time, it'd probably be cheaper to just buy a few senators, and then have them tell the spooks to back off...

Re:Rogue employees (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about a year ago | (#43943009)

with this size of this dragnet the spooks undoubtedly have lots of dirt on every senetor and congrassmen and would be more then willing to use it to cover their ass(ets)

Re:Rogue employees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942995)

That will never happen because every individual about a certain thresh-hold of wealth (the sort required to buy that sort of TV time) is in on this game.

--
Another fine opinion from The Fucking Psychopath®.

Re:Rogue employees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942519)

Do you really think that nobody would notice this stream of ridiculously sensitive data flowing out of the systems? Especially after the paranoia inspired by the Aurora attacks from the Chinese? I guarantee you this stuff would be found out near immediately. Also keep in mind that the people who work at these companies are geeky engineer types, which means they very likely feel just as strongly about all this as anyone. A good portion of them are probably sperglord libertarians who would shit themselves with glee if they got a chance to uncover any of this. Especially after these accusations have started flying around, don't you think that everyone's on the lookout for any symptoms of monitoring? ... and this isn't just putting a server in a closet somewhere to listen to some information. These companies have ridiculously distributed systems with no central hubs, so all of those datacenters would need to be bugged, with either incredibly suspicious code being checked into central repositories or huge amounts of heavy-duty hardware being put in place.

Man, the paranoia is pretty overwhelming here. Government surveillance is absolutely something to be worried about, but step back and think about the logistics and use some common sense rather than going straight to emotion.

Re:Rogue employees (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#43942547)

Do you really think that nobody would notice this stream of ridiculously sensitive data flowing out of the systems? Especially after the paranoia inspired by the Aurora attacks from the Chinese? I guarantee you this stuff would be found out near immediately. Also keep in mind that the people who work at these companies are geeky engineer types, which means they very likely feel just as strongly about all this as anyone.

What would you say when your boss tells you "Hey, Bill and Jeff are working on an analytics project that will give us a huge edge in the market. They're keeping their equipment in those two racks in the datacenter marked "Secret analytics product - keep out". They'll be hitting your API's to pull out some search data from our front-ends for deeper analysis of customer search patterns, and will be reporting directly to me.

Especially if there are 5 or 6 "secret" projects going on at the same time to test out new technology.

Re:Rogue employees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942589)

Not the OP, but you have no idea what it's like to work at [insert Silicon valley company here]. Personally identifiable information (including IP addresses and emails) have ridiculous protections in place. There would be multiple layers of people demanding to scrutinize the code before it could ever even hope to touch anything useful.

Re:Rogue employees (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#43942737)

Not the OP, but you have no idea what it's like to work at [insert Silicon valley company here]. Personally identifiable information (including IP addresses and emails) have ridiculous protections in place. There would be multiple layers of people demanding to scrutinize the code before it could ever even hope to touch anything useful.

"Did you not understand when I said the team is reporting directly to *me* and they require your full cooperation? This is an extremely important project, has been fully vetted by Legal, and the team is comprised of handpicked senior engineers (who have suddenly started being dropped off at the office by black SUV's). Or would you rather bring up your concerns with HR at your exit interview?"

Re:Rogue employees (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43942649)

keep in mind that the people who work at these companies are geeky engineer types, which means they very likely feel just as strongly about all this as anyone

What type do you think work at the NSA? The few NSA vets I've known fit the geeky engineer mold pretty well.

don't you think that everyone's on the lookout for any symptoms of monitoring?

They may be well aware that monitoring capabilities exist, in fact that's not even surprising. Phone companies have had monitoring/bugging capabilities for years. It's perfectly legitimate if it's only used pursuant to a proper warrant. But knowing that these capabilities exist, and knowing exactly how they're being used are two different things. Do the few techies that handle it even see the warrants, or are they just told "this is legit - do it". Or maybe the government has some remotely controlled ability to monitor without bothering company personnel. That's a perfect "hear no evil, see no evil" approach. "Gosh, the government told us it would only be used for legitimate lawful purposes, who wouldn't trust the government?"

The idea of a giant dragnet that monitors everybody may be nonsense, but it doesn't mean the government can't monitor anybody it chooses.

Re:Rogue employees (2)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#43942531)

I think this goes beyond a few employees walking out with the occasional thumb drive. If they have a link inside Google* it means a sh*tload of additional traffic to their backbone provider. Or a dedicated fiber link. Someone would notice.

*Its more likely this is being monitored in real time at the backbone providers. The same people that were given unconditional amnesty for handing customer data out. Cue the movie scene where the crooked cop has all the local hoods on a short leash when he needs some dirty work done.

Re:Rogue employees (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#43942639)

I think this goes beyond a few employees walking out with the occasional thumb drive. If they have a link inside Google* it means a sh*tload of additional traffic to their backbone provider. Or a dedicated fiber link. Someone would notice.

Depends what data they are monitoring, if they are just capturing search queries and IP addresses, it's not that much data. Google gets around 4B queries/day [statisticbrain.com] . If each query log entry consumes 256 bytes (should be less with compression?) that's 1TB of data per day, which *would* fit on a thumb drive [wired.co.uk] . Or consume around 100mbit/second of bandwidth, which would be lost in the noise of Google's outbound bandwidth (or served by a single AT&T fiber drop that terminates at the NSA)

*Its more likely this is being monitored in real time at the backbone providers. The same people that were given unconditional amnesty for handing customer data out. Cue the movie scene where the crooked cop has all the local hoods on a short leash when he needs some dirty work done.

Depends on whether or not they want to see SSL encrypted data too. Few believe that the NSA has the compute power to decrypt billions of SSL transactions a day.

Re:Rogue employees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942545)

Have you never considered that Google itself may be a department of the NSA?

Re:Rogue employees (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43942725)

Have you never considered that Google itself may be a department of the NSA?

Or maybe the NSA is a Google department.

Re:Rogue employees (0)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#43942765)

Have you never considered that Google itself may be a department of the NSA?

Or maybe the NSA is a Google department.

And they are both a division of the Illuminati, along with Facebook. It's no coincidence that Illuminati has three I's, but NSA, Google, or Facebook don't have a single "I" in their names -- they are purposely trying to distance themselves from their Illuminati overlords. Who, in turn, are controlled by the Aliens, but I've already said too much.

Re:Rogue employees (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43942947)

FB a division of the Illuminati? No way would they be associated with a cut-rate scam like FB. Google sure, but not FB.

Re:Rogue employees (4, Insightful)

Enry (630) | about a year ago | (#43942921)

You want tin foil? How's this:

Go read James Bamford's "Body of Secrets". Near the end, he mentions the things that the NSA needs to get right in order to stay ahead in the intelligence business:

Distributed data so that the loss of one data center doesn't impact data
Ability to import and index a massive amount of information continuously (while keeping it available)
Accurate speech to text
Accurate language translation
Ability to search massive amounts of data very quickly, ranking results
Search through different media formats (video, audio, text, etc.)

Now go look at what Google is good at and known for.

More likely (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942417)

It's likely to be dpi - and the NSA has spent time brute forcing the ssl - or obtained it as a "business record"

Re:More likely (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942487)

Narus STA 6600 deep packet inspection gear

It's called PRISM because that's what you use to split optical fibres.

Passive man-in-the-middle attacks. Doesn't matter if they can't get access to contents due to encryption if they're analysing traffic patterns with ThinThread - which is exactly what they're doing.

There are also specific trojans that have been deployed inside major companies without their knowledge (well, without their knowledge until now).

look at the wording carefully (4, Insightful)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year ago | (#43942423)

zuckerburg said he doesnt give the government "direct access" to its servers, that doesnt mean that it doesnt give them access. I am sure there will be more "legal speak" in the days to come

Re:look at the wording carefully (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942669)

Both Google and Facebook acknowledge that if they get a court order for some specific records, like some relevant to a criminal case, then they do comply and hand it over to the government. But they have been very clear they don't give out access without court orders.

Re:look at the wording carefully (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43942819)

they have been very clear they don't give out access without court orders

So? Orders can come from the FISA court. Who knows how broad they are? Who is going to complain about them since they're secret?

In all fairness I don't blame FB, the big G, etc. They don't have much choice in following court orders. The problem lies with the government.

Re:look at the wording carefully (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#43942831)

You could request a total copy of the picture data for a training exercise to help fine tune next gen facial recognition.
Inject some training pages into a huge data set and see how fast and well universities, departments and contractors do with real world "anonymised" data.
People on court orders who should have no interaction with web 2.0.
People with skills and cash for quality identity document forgery - with or without some plastic surgery.
That one image with a wanted face caught at an event, party.
Once the data is 'given' every department and contractor interested in say anti war protesters can run another "training exercise" with images from outside a base or city march.
Add in names from the 1960'70'80's90's00 with new current state and federal ID images -U.S. passport and driver license data.
Who are they friends with or again that one face in an unexpected group image, perhaps outside the USA?.
Offer the data sets to Canada, UK, Australia... just for a joint training exercise...
Their citizens might waive many rights when on any form of government assistance over a lifetime.
Would data have to be "anonymised" for Canada, UK, Australia...
If a US citizen is found via cooperation with Canada, UK, Australia...the USA just put a name or face of interest out to trusted friends.
Its not "direct access" when a national security letter covers the request for help with a "training exercise".

Re:look at the wording carefully (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942899)

A spinal tap on the internet backbone in the right strategic places will give then everything they want. There will be rooms in exchanges.

Secondly, they are bugging Judges and Congressmen, that information will swept up for analysis. Whether they get up to Hoover/Bush Senior like tactics, select targeting to apply the blowtorch on cantankerous objectors - who knows.

The most dangerous terrorist attacks (if any) will come from domestic citizens. They are not going to let on if their only breakthrough came from a domestic contact. Justice would be equally criminal for letting a US citizen do something bad if they knew about it.
There is reason to believe domestic drug dealers have suffered as a result.

They won't come out and say "Yes, we have been breaking the law all along, but we feel good about it" . AG's are not very smart - who cares if they do an 'East Germany' on everyone.

So everyone, stop donating money to political parties. Stop using phone and computer to broadcast your life, and go out to the park to discuss business

To anyone complaining about this (5, Insightful)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#43942453)

Unless you're one of the 1.5% of the people didn't vote for a republican/democrat, STFU! You voted for this at least six times since it was officially made legal. And no doubt you will approve again in the next election.

Re:To anyone complaining about this (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#43942483)

Oh wait, I apologize for being so harsh. What I meant to say was, you have the right to remain silent. Please make the most of it. Thank you very much

Re:To anyone complaining about this (1)

stanIyb (2945195) | about a year ago | (#43942561)

Unless you're one of the 1.5% of the people didn't vote for a republican/democrat, STFU!

But what if they have a change of heart?

Re:To anyone complaining about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942729)

Unless you're one of the 1.5% of the people didn't vote for a republican/democrat, STFU!

But what if they have a change of heart?

Doubtful, they would just rather sit in front of America's got Talent (sic) or whatever else Simon Cowell craps out of his arse.

Guility motherfucker! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942735)

Unless you're one of the 1.5% of the people didn't vote for a republican/democrat, STFU! You voted for this at least six times since it was officially made legal. And no doubt you will approve again in the next election.

Guilty.

I voted for Obama in the last election and the Libertarian candidate (whatever his name was) in 2008.

I'm in Georgia - US of A.

Back in 2008, every single Black person who could vote was out to vote for Obama. And he lost Georgia in '08 and in '12. Georgia is Republican State with a Capital 'R'.

I did what _I_ could do. I did what _I_ thought was right.

I was hoping the Black dude to stick it to the Man and he turned out to be the Man.

WTF are we going to do?!

It's great and all - and I'm sure it makes YOU fell good to say shit like "Unless you're one of the 1.5% of the people didn't vote for a republican/democrat, STFU! " - but am _I_ supposed to do?

Fucking tell me! Tellme !

Armed revolt?

So, I'm going to quite my job, fight the Government and in the meantime, the bank will foreclose on my house, put my student loans into collections, freeze my bank accounts, and I'm supposed to fight?

I'm a fucking serf Dude! I DID what I was supposed to do - what corporate America - what the fucking asshole hiring managers -demand I do - I AM powerless to do anything! I have TRIED mother fucker! I AM trying when I can but the thing is, there are too many people who have bought the fucking propaganda! We see it here all the time.

Re:Guility motherfucker! (4, Insightful)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year ago | (#43942873)

after 4 years of obama... why would anyone be a first time obama voter in 12? not attacking seriously curious.

Re:Guility motherfucker! (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942965)

To keep the wrong, abortion limiting, homosexual right denying, health care privatizing, global warming denying, Social Security gutting lizard out.

Re:To anyone complaining about this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942749)

You have it backwards, your 1.5% have no representatives to even complain to. Your silent protest hasn't done shit, you have no more (or less) right to complain, you have no right to complain about others participating in a system that you find distasteful in a productive manner complaining.

Re:To anyone complaining about this (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43942833)

You have it backwards, your 1.5% have no representatives to even complain to

So? Let's say you voted for Obama (I did in 2008). What are you going to do, threaten to vote Republican if he doesn't stop wiping his ass with the Constitution? Barack to George: pass the toilet paper.

Re:To anyone complaining about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942917)

So? Let's say you voted to not be heard instead? What are you going to do instead? Right now the most realistic battle is to fix house elections with automatically drawn [rangevoting.org] superdistricts [fairvote.org] implemented through state referendums. Complaining about the fact that it's hard to elect an "independent" (no one independent gets anywhere, some just have smaller dependencies) into a single person position isn't just pointless, it's not even wrong! All you can do is do the least damage there, period. You can either pick your battles or yearn for a magical place where political realities will go away due to being righteously ignored. The system has plenty of leverage, it's just being thrown away on shit like making gay marriage unconstitutional in North Carolina and irrelevant crap in California.

Re:To anyone complaining about this (2)

stanIyb (2945195) | about a year ago | (#43942855)

You have it backwards, your 1.5% have no representatives to even complain to.

By voting for other parties, you're letting the main parties know that maybe the third parties are onto something (if a sufficient number of people do so, and it starts with the individual). And even if it were futile, it would still be hell of a lot better than directly voting for evil like so many people do.

Sure, they have a right to complain, but it would be much better if they actually did something and stopped voting for evil.

1.5%?! What about everyone outside the US? (2)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about a year ago | (#43942779)

There are a lot more than 1.5% of us who didn't vote for the US government, starting with almost everyone outside the US, who the US Powers That Be don't much seem to care about alienating this week even if we're all "allies". This whole mess is exposing the fundamental problems of international legal frameworks when it comes to commercial and intelligence practice.

For example, it's now going to be very awkward for US businesses that deal with lots of personal information about people from Europe -- where data protection laws are much stronger than in the US -- to explain how they are both complying with those laws and complying with the US government harvesting data. Plenty of people have noticed the paradox in the past and turned a blind eye or left it to the EU bureaucrats to figure out how to deal with it quietly, but somehow I doubt that's going to fly for much longer at this point.

Things are about to get very awkward for any EU companies that send data over to US services covered by the Safe Harbor rules as well, because if it's clear that Safe Harbor doesn't really protect data to European standards because the US government freely admits it can get to it anyway, then almost by definition it's going to become illegal to use all those US-based services from the EU. If that actually became a real thing, the economic consequences would be... unpleasant.

Re:To anyone complaining about this (5, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | about a year ago | (#43942951)

Oh rubbish. You forget that in 2008 there really was a choice. One of the guys, a senator from Illinois, promised to end things like warrantless wiretapping, torture, wars on whistleblowers, etc, if he was elected.

Alas the other guy won. I think. He did, right?

Man in the middle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942455)

The article makes a big deal about ubiquitous encryption eventually weakening these types of surveillance tools, but if the government has the ability to do deep packet inspection at the ISP or backbone level couldn't they see the negotiation of encryption keys between client and server and decrypt the data?

Re:Man in the middle (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43942515)

if the government has the ability to do deep packet inspection at the ISP or backbone level couldn't they see the negotiation of encryption keys between client and server and decrypt the data?

Doesn't work w/ public key encryption.

Re:Man in the middle (2)

Prune (557140) | about a year ago | (#43942577)

Most PKI is based on certificate authorities which are likely to easily submit to government pressure. Secure key exchange with a private key system remains necessary for anything really sensitive. Right now that might mean exchanging keys in a way immune from MITM attacks by physically carrying over a storage medium containing the keys to the other party; in the meantime, quantum key distribution is making strides and eventually will be practical enough for more widespread use.

Re:Man in the middle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942783)

Hahahaha, practical use? There might be a very narrow window where an single unpatched fiberoptic cable is a more efficient way to exchange keys than a trunkfull of one time pad data, but it ain't going to be widespread, not even, or particulary with the government, just put it on a military transport and post reasonbable guard. Not to mention that the moment someone cuts your line you're dumb and blind. Quantum cryptography is a joke when you think past the rosy theory.

Re:Man in the middle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942771)

It doesn't work only so long as you don't transmit your public key.
The moment you do, you're vulnerable.

Re:Man in the middle (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#43942909)

If part of the free service is targeted ads to users based on the "content" of their emails - deep packet inspection at the ISP or backbone level is really just for port, ip and TOR tracking fun ;)
You can encrypt all you want up to the trusted server and back out again. Its going back to machine readable content at some point for the ads in the USA :)

Companies did not deny giving data to gov't (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942539)

The companies denied knowing a code name (PRISM) and using a specific method for giving data to the gov't (backdoors). They didn't deny participating in a program to give data to the government. ABC News has a good analysis of their statements:

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/nsa-prism-dissecting-technology-companies-adamant-denial-involvement/story?id=19350095 [go.com]

Re:Companies did not deny giving data to gov't (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43942885)

The companies denied knowing a code name (PRISM) and using a specific method for giving data to the gov't (backdoors). They didn't deny participating in a program to give data to the government. ABC News has a good analysis of their statements:

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/nsa-prism-dissecting-technology-companies-adamant-denial-involvement/story?id=19350095 [go.com]

Also all the companies say they only do it in accordance with the law. That may well be true, but so what? That doesn't mean the law isn't corrupt, or that they didn't get an overly broad FISA court order that comes with a gag. I really can't blame these companies as they have little choice. The problem is with the government.

Really going on? Let me spell it out for you... (4, Insightful)

pla (258480) | about a year ago | (#43942549)

The current US government has a complete disregard for the rights of its citizenry. Name a single Bill of Rights amendment that remains in full efffect. Go on... Name just one. Secret courts? DNA collection? "Free speech zones"? Compulsory self-incrimination? State imposed limitations to the 2nd amendment (which in effect guts the 10th, commerce clause aside)?

In this case - Just straight up fuck the government. No sane reading of the rights guaranteed us by the constitution allows for such a tortured interpretation. And I don't care how you use it Barry O - I care that you collect it in the first place. The constitution doesn't say "we can stop by and take a look around your place as long as we don't press charges", it says "no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized". Doesn't take a legal scholar to parse that, you worthless floaters atop the DC sewers!


/ For those who would inevitably bring up the 3rd amendment - We lost that one over a century ago - Thanks, Mr. Lincoln! They just haven't had a reason to casually disregard it in the past century, but make no mistake, they would (again) in a heartbeat.

Re:Really going on? Let me spell it out for you... (4, Insightful)

lightknight (213164) | about a year ago | (#43942583)

So...what you're saying, is that this government is effectively an anti-US government?

Re:Really going on? Let me spell it out for you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942815)

As opposed to wich US government? The one that selectively denied said citizenry and all but wiped out native populations? Upheld legal slavery past just about everyone else in the western civilization? Put citizens of Japanese decent into concentration camps and consfiscated their property? I think you need a history lesson.

Well golly gee! I'm not so far off base (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#43942555)

FTA:
If we continue to permit this, the ultimate fault and blame will not be with our government or our leaders, but rather with ourselves.

However, it's not a future problem anymore. We already are to blame.

Stop with the rhetoric. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942607)

If you want to make a persuasive argument, or to seem like an honest broker of the facts, please don't insert idiotic, manipulative, pre-judging rhetoric in your writing. When three words in you have "The Soviet Surveillance States of America", your credibility takes a large hit with those who don't already agree with you (but you end up getting validated by the people who do, rewarding your behavior, and repeating it). Please re-join us in the real world, and make your points here, instead.

Re:Stop with the rhetoric. (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year ago | (#43942915)

Yes, but what conditions have to be true before you'd consider this country to be the "soviet socialist states of america" or whatever? Asking this question allows a sane conversation because it forces both you and the other to fill in your rhetoric with details and a logical argument...and yes, I am sure that those who disagree with him have their own rhetorical salvos.

Re:Stop with the rhetoric. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942991)

If you want to make a persuasive argument, or to seem like an honest broker of the facts, please don't insert idiotic, manipulative, pre-judging rhetoric in your writing. When three words in you have "The Soviet Surveillance States of America", your credibility takes a large hit with those who don't already agree with you (but you end up getting validated by the people who do, rewarding your behavior, and repeating it). Please re-join us in the real world, and make your points here, instead.

Sure, Mr. President. We'll do as you ask.

Why, of course the gov't needs MORE tax money! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942615)

Come on, get everyone to pay their "fair share".

Trust me - that money will be used only for GOOD purposes!

At least... (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year ago | (#43942679)

...with a name like PRISM, it is friendly to all sexual orientations.

Sarcasm aside, maybe mauve is named that way because with all the data they collect they can break the populace down to its constituent colors.

PRISM and Backdoors (1)

hackus (159037) | about a year ago | (#43942703)

I can see this easily with respect to the major vendors ESPECIALLY CISCO and MICROSOFT, building back doors into all of their products.

This in my opinion will be a huge boost for open source software and hardware where you can analyse the entire system from top to bottom and verify its security integrity.

One thing is for sure, history paints a very bleak future if this sort of thing is allowed to continue.

Forget about patent trolls and SCO and everything else that has tried to destroy the only meaningful computer science research in my opinion that has been happening in the last 15 years is all around open source, and specifically LINUX and nothing else.

What happens if they decide only closed proprietary binaries can be used for all communications and open source is illegal?

Sound far fetched?

I don't think so, if the government decides to deploy a small tactical nuke in a city, and then use that crisis to solidify its power claiming to keep you all safe, all open source research can only be done under a license from the government and anyone found with open computing systems we can't directly monitor will go to prison.

This is the norm in China right now, and they didn't even need a crisis. I would like to point out to, that CISCO is the single most culpable company in the world that has created these sorts of police state networks, and they did it for cash. On a daily basis, people are hunted down, murdered, butchered and killed all thanks to CISCO tracking systems built specifically for the Chinese government.

My friends 10 years ago said that would never happen because CISCO was "too nice" and they would never do such a thing.

Likewise, imagine a VERY plausible scenario where a nuke strike orchestrated by a few companies, or government people could do for the IP industry where ONLY CISCO products are licensed by the government and can be used to "KEEP YOU SAFE".

The amount of dollars we are talking about is gigantic and easily worth destroying one or two US cities like New York or Chicago or even both to risk the force required to take ALL of the telecommunications markets.

It only two TWO buildings to take the USA military budget into the mega multiple TRILLIONS with ENDLESS WAR now. What do you think these global elite could get with two nuked America cities?

Think about all of the lawlessness that isn't even being reported on the TV news channels like the Cartoon News Network (CNN...Fox News etc...) you come to realise just how corrupt the government is. IRS actually targeting people for their religious, political views, news reporters who don't tow the line being sent to jail.

It doesn't sound to far fetched to me.

We all know how this will end, and it will end very badly, if anyone is left after the end of this "ENDLESS WAR" the enemy is "EVERYWHERE".

Yeah, well that enemy is YOU my friend.

-Hack

Why so surprised? (4, Insightful)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about a year ago | (#43942817)

I've always assumed anything I've posted, including E-mail or said is public knowledge.

Way back when... The usenet group knew or took for granted that every message
went through NSA, at the time is was no big deal just be a backbone and filter for words
or phrases. The practice was referred to as the eight words, while I forget them, one or more of the
eight words were sure to get your post sidelined and read.

As for back doors these have been in place for a long time, Microsoft's Firewall will
allow trusted parties to slip right through. There was a time these were talked about
in the open.

ToS and privacy policies tell you what information is being collected and what it's used
for, Angry birds has one line that says any amount of your data will "go overseas".

The game appropriately named "Jewel link!" one of many free games put out by Ezjoy Network
has no ToS or privacy policy and requires every permission Android has. Ezjoy Network can make
a copy of your entire system if they want as they've promised nothing, which you accepted when installed.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ezjoynetwork.jewelslink&feature=search_result [google.com]

paste m.ezjoygame.com into google and watch what happens. "You get a Google Instant is unavailable. Press Enter to search"
message but you can learn more here: https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/186645?form=bb&hl=en [google.com]

Google isn't all the Innocent, recently Google Play restricted any program that interferes with
the data capture of another program, blocking programs like Adaway, or any number of programs
that blocked sites (a HOSTS file) or change permissions.

Why so surprised?

Re:Why so surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942989)

The game appropriately named "Jewel link!" one of many free games put out by Ezjoy Network has no ToS or privacy policy and requires every permission Android has.

What on Earth are you talking about?

It requires network access, access to USB storage, the ability to read the phone state/identity, to check which accounts are set up, and the ability to prevent the phone from sleeping. These are more privileges than I think it needs but hardly "every permission Android has".

Where was Wikileaks with the scoop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942841)

Guess that's not the goto site anymore.

yep, that's our eternal union for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942903)

Seriously this Yankee madness really needs to stop. Guess what? No representation in our government. Again. Are we really going to be scared by more delusions and crippling incompetence? What makes me so radically different from the bureaucrat working for a big company or the US government? How did these groups earn their positions? It's just sad how disconnected and alienated everyone is from each other. The only hope we have in America is that we keep our innovation and technology more advanced than everyone else. If we don't have that, forget it. What's troubling is that instead of adapting to the implications of our new technologies, we create positions and jobs that don't actually help the economy and are entirely selfish. And not selfish in a good way, but selfish in a bad way that means rewards being created from nothing that double dip right back to the beneficiary. Only significant and clear demand of what we actually want will help. Problem is, whenever anyone suggests anything like proportional voting, direct democracy, better safety conditions, teleworking, etc these will invariably be placed in the hands of individuals who have no business or ability doing this. We can talk forever about how this comes about, but a lot of it has to do with monopolies. I'm not just talking about monopolies on a large scale, it's about monopolies on what we do everyday. Many full-time positions really don't need to be full time, but are made full-time to start the silly game. Because everyone's assumption is that x-hour workday is best for productivity! Look at the numbers! If there is anything I've learned, people will do anything in their power to fudge numbers. Eventually, if there are enough full time positions in the company, there are people who are utterly disconnected from each other in what they do. This only breeds unnecessary drama which we are indoctrinated to accept and even appreciate through TV, media, and the whole three-ring circus. This is already too long; the end message is that the jobs that we do today are partly if not completely subjective in their scope and no one is really ready to accept that reality. It's made worse when people feel like they can only "make a difference" when they have this illusory monopoly on something. In this case, Obama is indicating that he can "make a difference" because "look we can have a complete monopoly on the control of this information! Isn't that great!?" No, it's not great, it is in fact worse than what we have now. Same goes for the rest of the political landscape, just a whole hoard of people with these intentions that weaken ourselves and the people we love. If there's one thing I'd want out of the lot is that they write down their intentions and then we get to grade them on it.

Give Me All Your Data (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942927)

"In other words, what we're likely talking about with PRISM isn't a "back door" for rummaging around through data in an uncontrolled manner, but rather a technical and legal protocol for the government to quickly gain access to specific data under order when the firm involved agrees that the order is valid and chooses not to challenge it."

Well, we know that at least with Verizon that court order was "give me all your data". I think Weinstein is trying too hard to sound reasonable. Just trawling all text communications would be much easier than building a sophisticated system to hand off, piece-meal, data. And it's more inline with what NSA has always done... massive trawling of data. They're not the FBI. These are the same people who built Echelon, which we _know_ is a system for massive data trawling of satellite and radio communications.

If you define the problem as capturing, byte-for-byte, all e-mail traffic, then, sure it sounds kind hard. But they don't need byte-for-byte accuracy; they don't need to capture every, single message. Again, they're not the FBI, and they're not compiling folders of evidence to deliver up to a court. Their metric of success is capturing exactly as much data as they can. That's it.

What does Weinstein think the NSA does with their data facilites? 65MW in Utah. 60MW in their new Maryland facility. Ft. Meade data center? Greenbelt HQ? Elsewhere? The scale of their operations is of the same order as Google.

If this is what the government is doing... (4, Insightful)

mrxak (727974) | about a year ago | (#43943005)

If this is what the government is doing to protect me, I don't want to be protected anymore. I'll take my own chances.

I would rather be dead to a terrorist bomb than live in 1984.

Price of Freedom... (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about a year ago | (#43943027)

I err on the side of citizen freedom - I don't want the government listening to my phone calls. spying on my internet traffic or decrypting my PC.

However... Fellow citizens who feel this way must understand the price - You have to understand that the 'price of freedom' is that, from time to time, extremely rare events will occur where people will die. Planes and trains will be bombed. Kids will be blown up. One day a dirty or chemical bomb might go off in a big city.

You can't on the one hand say "Don't read my mail!" and then on the other hand complain if the government fails to detect a terror cell operating in Sioux City. If you want to live in a nanny-state bubble well loss of freedom is the price.
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