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NSA Can Spy On Data From Smart Phones, Including Blackberry

timothy posted about a year ago | from the ask-not-how-you-can-spy-on-your-country dept.

Government 298

An anonymous reader writes with a report from Spiegel Online that the U.S. government "has the capability of tapping user data from the iPhone, [and] devices using Android as well as BlackBerry, a system previously believed to be highly secure. The United States' National Security Agency intelligence-gathering operation is capable of accessing user data from smart phones from all leading manufacturers. ... The documents state that it is possible for the NSA to tap most sensitive data held on these smart phones, including contact lists, SMS traffic, notes and location information about where a user has been." As a bonus, the same reader points out a Washington Post report according to which "The Obama administration secretly won permission from a surveillance court in 2011 to reverse restrictions on the National Security Agency's use of intercepted phone calls and e-mails, permitting the agency to search deliberately for Americans' communications in its massive databases ... In addition, the court extended the length of time that the NSA is allowed to retain intercepted U.S. communications from five years to six years — and more under special circumstances, according to the documents, which include a recently released 2011 opinion by U.S. District Judge John D. Bates, then chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court."

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298 comments

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Let me guess, BIS (3, Informative)

Ferzerp (83619) | about a year ago | (#44789637)

BES in theory can only be intercepted and cracked with a massive amount of computation time, limiting the functional use of any dragnet attempts.

Journalists never understand the difference between BIS and BES though.

Re:Let me guess, BIS (2)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about a year ago | (#44789949)

Unless, of course, they cracked the private master key(s). If BB did something as stupidly asinine as RSA and use a single master key to auth all other keys, well, you're in a pickle as soon as the master gets out or cracked. It wouldn't surprise me if that's exactly what has happened.

Re:Let me guess, BIS (5, Insightful)

edman007 (1097925) | about a year ago | (#44790147)

Or BES just has an NSA backdoor.

Secret oversight (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789643)

Secret oversight can't be trusted, and anyone who thought it could be trusted was a moron.

Re:Secret oversight (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789805)

The Nazi hunters had to dig thru millions of paper documents. I think it would be the right thing to do to start keeping track of all the people who have thrown our country away. A centralized site where people can upload pictures of the agents and any information they may have on them.

Whether it is federal agents 'only doing their job' or federal judges making it possible all the way down to the DHS agents at airports acting as thugs.

We need a single place where all this information can be consolidated for the future so they can all be held accountable for the damage they contributed to.

Re:Secret oversight (3, Insightful)

Jawnn (445279) | about a year ago | (#44789899)

And yet the sheeple just keep bending over and taking it.

Re:Secret oversight (5, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year ago | (#44790169)

The worst part of the no trust is that they can't even know if the data they are collecting from is being misused [medium.com] . Not just they are lowering on pourpose your security (weakening crypto, planting backdoors, etc), and syphoning everyone's private information, but is already proved (to the public, with Snowden) that they don't know who access their information and how is or will be using it.

So if tomorrow your bank account shows a pretty rounded zero because the backdoors NSA planted on you was used by one of the employees of one of the companies the NSA hires (he just sold in the black market that backdoor information and someone else did it), don't be sad, the country must be defended from the terrorists.

And the saga continues.... (5, Insightful)

xystren (522982) | about a year ago | (#44789655)

Yet again, the extent of government overreaching continues. Lie about what really is really being done, and with a subtle move along, nothing to see here... "Ohh, look over there,Kim Kardashian."

Simply amazing that what is being assured is not being done, is in reality being done.

Re:And the saga continues.... (5, Interesting)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about a year ago | (#44789697)

What amazes me is that there have been no reprisals so far. Not by the US citizens, by US courts nor by other countries. Folks who actually live in the US, please tell me: are people really just shrugging it off or am I just not seeing the repercussions from here?

Re:And the saga continues.... (1, Insightful)

Adam Salisbury (2990035) | about a year ago | (#44789729)

Please tell me what you think I should do to stop it. As an average citizen, I have no power over anything this government does. I am just a victim.

Re:And the saga continues.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789787)

There's one course of action that'd make the people behind this sit up and take notice. Sadly, posting about it would probably end up with me receiving a visit from the authorities.

Edit: the captcha for this post is "unarmed"....funny.

Re:And the saga continues.... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789887)

The authorities' response would be:

A. "Smithers, release the drones!"
B. Abundant supply of tasers and riot gear for law enforcement agents
C. Look! Another sport event on cable!
D. Market yet another manufactured crisis, giving politicians yet another opportunity to divide public opinion
E. All of the above

Re:And the saga continues.... (4, Insightful)

cdp0 (1979036) | about a year ago | (#44789883)

Please tell me what you think I should do to stop it. As an average citizen, I have no power over anything this government does. I am just a victim.

Protest. [wikipedia.org]

Not protesting means you agree with what happens. You can't be neutral on a moving train. [imdb.com]

Re:And the saga continues.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789933)

Get a face full of pepperspray and be declared a jobless hippy.

Re:And the saga continues.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44790067)

Protesting can result in arrest and a possible criminal record.

Re:And the saga continues.... (4, Interesting)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#44789901)

Stop voting for these fucking politicians.

It's not difficult, change the people who make the laws.

Learn what you potential future politicians actually have done in the past and stop listening to the bullshit that spews from their mouths and campaigns.

Vote out these life time politicians.

Stop sitting on your lazy ass and make an actual effort instead of whining that it doesn't matter.

Apathy changes nothing.

The president DOES NOT MAKE LAWS, so stop giving him all your attention and vote for specific people in congress. Next time around, vote them out when the lie to you.

Re:And the saga continues.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789967)

You think our elections are fair? They are all based on weighted votes with dead people an pets casting the heaviest weighted votes. The elections in the USSA are predecided.

Re:And the saga continues.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789979)

It would be better to run for office.

In some elections (or perhaps in the info from the LWV), you have a paragraph written by the candidates, so you at least know something of who they are. I expected that I would agree for candidates for one party... it turned out _none_ of them on a local level could write a decent paragraph. So I voted for the other party (in those elections). Sometimes if you want to change the people who make the laws, you gotta step up and volunteer to be one of them. No worries, we'll complain about you just as much... ;)

Re:And the saga continues.... (3, Interesting)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year ago | (#44790261)

If voting could change anything, it would be outlawed.

As it is, they just want the numbers to look good enough, to get away with what they want.

That's why they keep so many in jail - and out of the polls.

Re:And the saga continues.... (4, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | about a year ago | (#44790073)

Yes you do. Keep spreading the word that Government can't be trusted and that you and your fellow citizens should NOT cooperate with agents of government. They ask for info tell them to get a warrant. You see something, say NOTHING. They want to "contribute" to your project attend your conference etc, you respond get lost FED. Start excluding people who work for three letters from social events, etc.

If all of us citizens stand up and just say no; it will make these programs way less effective. If we treat these Constitution shredding collaborators like the criminals they are and black ball them; it will be increasingly hard for government to find people to do this stuff.

We can change this thing but voting in the horse race won't do it. Its gotta be done from the ground. Make working for the NSA something to be embarrassed about.

As long as these methods the military/security complex are working right or wrong the power hungry will use and abuse them. We need to make them no longer work. Make the price tag of this type of signals intelligence the loss of all good human intelligence and being subject to disdainful stairs and "we don't serve your kind here" everytime a badge comes out; things would start to change.

Re:And the saga continues.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44790241)

Fellow geeks, put on your spock-logic module for a minute. People are not naive, some of them are. People are not stupid, some of them are. No, people are if anything cowards.

The solution is brutally simple. Nobody seems willing to point out the obvious, so I will. People have to be killed. The only question is who gets to who first. Everything else is hand waving about theory models, especially your democracy.

The fact is that most people are cowards. Stalin's secret police took advantage of this fact during the purges, rounding up people from the cities while everybody else kept to themselves hoping it wouldn't be them taken next. People can act like sheep or lions, it depends on how they perceive the context of the situation.

There were very few police in proportion to those taken into the prison system, and if at any time they had been ambushed and murdered, then the kidnappings and murders would have stopped. The government would be forced into either bringing in the army, a bet if it goes against them, would oust them from power, or adapt its tactics. Violence is a risk, but so was the opportunity cost of 70 years of economic and social stagnation. America is a good example of a country in which a coup ultimately led a country in the right direction, if at great cost. But for every America there is three Irans.

The democratic system is bastardized beyond repair. Sooner or later there will be violence. Most revolutions fail, even when they replace the incumbent, because they don't have a superior model to replace the system with.

That is why I think the best way forward is to come up with what we need to replace the current system of government with. If we don't do it, then tyrants will accomplish it for us. But before that happens there will be violence. One must carefully distinguish between choosing what to believe because it is most comfortable and convenient for us, or because it bears resemblance to reality we live in.

You may point out that violent change leading to successful overthrow of a government is less possible because of the mass surveillance. True. And also that the terrorism narritive plays neatly into the hands of the worst people in government. Also true. But this does not mean violence is any less likely. It only means any future revolution is not going to look like the ones that happened before, that is all. These are not nice conclusions, but I think they are logical ones.

Re:And the saga continues.... (1)

Narcocide (102829) | about a year ago | (#44789739)

Most of us are simply too naive to really believe the NSA could have ulterior motives here. There is still just enough lack of education and naivety to support the general faith that the government isn't spending all these resources on something petty that anyone but criminals and ex-patriots would disapprove of.

The rest of us have been crying foul for almost a decade already, but the pop-culture majority wrote our opinions off a long time ago as paranoid and delusional.

Re:And the saga continues.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789815)

We haven't had an election yet. As much as I am in favor of a more "hands on" approach, the fact is that nothing can change in theUS until we vote them out.

Re:And the saga continues.... (1)

laffer1 (701823) | about a year ago | (#44789871)

Both parties support this. Members of congress from both sides of the aisle have said they want this. There is no one to vote for.

Re:And the saga continues.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789917)

Both parties support this. Members of congress from both sides of the aisle have said they want this. There is no one to vote for.

Both parties support this. Members of congress from both sides of the aisle have said they want this. There is no one to vote for.

Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos.

Re:And the saga continues.... (1)

Narcocide (102829) | about a year ago | (#44790031)

"Both" parties you say? How about instead of purposefully spreading misinformation you grow a pair and vote for one of the other parties [wikipedia.org] .

Re:And the saga continues.... (1)

laffer1 (701823) | about a year ago | (#44790225)

We all know how often other parties win in the US.. seriously this is a non option until the american public gives a shit about what's happening and by then it's going to be too late.

I have tried voting for other candidates in the past and they never win.

Re:And the saga continues.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789835)

It is happening on a personal level, I am more than sure of it. Let's wait till election time.

Re:And the saga continues.... (1)

Xicor (2738029) | about a year ago | (#44789911)

the problem is that most ppl only vote for democrats and republicans, who are two sides of the same coin. the only real way to change anything is to vote for a third party, but only smart ppl do that, and the majority of the population isnt smart

Re:And the saga continues.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44790057)

You don't really have any place making assumptions about intelligence with your capitalization fails and usage of "ppl". You really are able to discuss politics but can't manage to type out "people"? Really? And in any case, it's the "smart" people that know that third parties exist that are the ones not doing any voting due to feeling defeated. I'm not one of them, but I sure as hell can't blame them.

Re:And the saga continues.... (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about a year ago | (#44790127)

the problem is that most ppl only vote for democrats and republicans, who are two sides of the same coin.

Not really. The perties are quite distinct. We have one party that works for the benefit of the 1% and another that works for the benefit of the 0.1% (or is it the 0.01%?)

Re:And the saga continues.... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789837)

What amazes me is that there have been no reprisals so far. Not by the US citizens, by US courts nor by other countries. Folks who actually live in the US, please tell me: are people really just shrugging it off or am I just not seeing the repercussions from here?

What do you mean?

I have my guns, big screen TV, sports package, beer, pizza, and of course church! I wish Libtards would STFU and just be grateful they live in the most free and greatest nation on Earth!

Re:And the saga continues.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789861)

They shipped 2000 guns into Mexico with no reprisals, and got reelected.
They caused the death of an Ambassador in Lybia, blamed it on a filmaker who is the only one that served jail time for it, and got reelected.
They used the IRS to target individual citizens because of political views, and they got reelected.

It appears the worse stuff they do, the more the GOP gets blamed, and they get reelected. If you were in charge and this was happening why would you ever consider stopping it?

Re:And the saga continues.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44790013)

Fuck off, numnuts.

Re:And the saga continues.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44790123)

You're part of the problem. You put supporting team Blue(D) or Red(R) before the best interests of your fellow man, woman, and child.

Re:And the saga continues.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789913)

It's not shrugging it off.

It's given up.
The only thing left that would really change things is a civil war.
Everything else, including voting for change, no longer has any effect in the USA.
The people are powerless.

It's not shrugging it off, it's civil war or accepting what's happening.
Not yet picking civil war is not the same as shrugging it off.

Re:And the saga continues.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789945)

They have the guns and money, what exactly would you presume we do about it? /wrists?

Re:And the saga continues.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44790001)

There have never been reprecussions to those who are above the law. It's not a bug, it's by definition a feature!

Captcha: frontal

Things people can do (5, Informative)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about a year ago | (#44790087)

From a previous post, here's the collected list of suggested actions people can take to help change the situation.

Have more ideas? Please post below.

Links worthy of attention:

http://anticorruptionact.org/ [anticorruptionact.org] [anticorruptionact.org]

http://www.ted.com/talks/lawrence_lessig_we_the_people_and_the_republic_we_must_reclaim.html [ted.com] [ted.com]

http://action.fairelectionsnow.org/fairelections [fairelectionsnow.org] [fairelectionsnow.org]

http://represent.us/ [represent.us] [represent.us]

http://www.protectourdemocracy.com/ [protectourdemocracy.com] [protectourdemocracy.com]

http://www.wolf-pac.com/ [wolf-pac.com] [wolf-pac.com]

https://www.unpac.org/ [unpac.org] [unpac.org]

http://www.thirty-thousand.org/ [thirty-thousand.org] [thirty-thousand.org]

Join the class action suit that Rand Paul is bringing against the NSA.

Suggestion #1:

(My idea): If people could band together and agree to vote out the incumbent (senator, representative, president) whenever one of these incidents crop up, there would be incentive for politicians to better serve the people in order to continue in office. This would mean giving up party loyalty and the idea of "lessor of two evils", which a lot of people won't do. Some congressional elections are quite close, so 2,000 or so petitioners might be enough to swing a future election.

Let your house and senate rep know how you feel about this issue / patriot act and encourage those you know to do the same.

If enough people let their representivies know how they feel obviously those officials who want to be reelected will tend to take notice. We have seen what happens when wikipedia and google go "dark", congressional switchboards melt and the 180's start to pile up.

Fax is considered the best way to contact a congressperson,especially if it is on corporate letterhead.

Suggestion #2:

Tor, I2dP and the likes. Let's build a new common internet over the internet. Full strong anonymity and integrity. Transform what an
eavesdropper would see in a huge cypherpunk clusterfuck.

Taking back what's ours through technology and educated practices.

Let's go back to the 90' where the internet was a place for knowledgeable and cooperative people.

Someone Added: Let's go full scale by deploying small wireless routers across the globe creating a real mesh network as internet was designed to be!

Suggestion #3:

A first step might be understanding the extent towards which the government actually disagrees with the people. Are we talking about a situation where the government is enacting unpopular policies that people oppose? Or are we talking about a situation where people support the policies? Because the solutions to those two situations are very different.

In many cases involving "national security", I think the situation is closer to the second one. "Tough on X" policies are quite popular, and politicians often pander to people by enacting them. The USA Patriot Act, for example, was hugely popular when it was passed. And in general, politicians get voted out of office more often for being not "tough" on crime and terrorism and whatever else, than for being too over-the-top in pursuing those policies.

Suggestion #4:

What I feel is needed is a true 3rd party, not 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th parties, such as Green, Tea Party, Libertarian; we need an agreeable third party that can compete against the two majors without a lot of interference from small parties. We need a consensus third party.

Suggestion #5:

Replace the voting system. Plurality voting will always lead [wikipedia.org] to the mess we have now. The only contribution towards politics I've made in years was to fund Approval Voting video [indiegogo.com]. It's the best compromise for a replacement system. Work to get it allowed at your Town or City level, then we can take it higher.

Suggestion #6:

Paraphrasing: Start a social perception that working for evil is evil. Possibly connect this to religious beliefs, but in general shun people who have worked for the system as promoting evil (both in hiring and socially).

The post:

1) this kind of sht is morally wrong

2) thus, working for this kind of sht is morally wrong

3) thus, anybody who works for this kind of sht is going to hell, for
whatever your value of 'hell'.

4) you might say that 'i need the money from this gig', but

5) anybody who works for this kind of sht is feeding their kids but is
at the same time fscking over the kids' future bigtime. Your kids will
not forgive you for being the AC IRL.

From this, it should easily emerge that everybody should just stop working for this sht. No workers, no NSA. There needs to emerge a culture and a movement to encourage it. Shame the spineless coward who works for the Man! Shun him or tell him what he does is evil and his country hates him for it. Spread the word!

Re:And the saga continues.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44790187)

I can tell you that in light of our society's "changes" recently, I have quit my job working in the IT field, and have moved on to farming. I have effectively dropped out of the norm, and no one has the use of my mind for furthering the problem. No, I want to grow food, and forget about the rest of this shitty society, as it is apparent that no one in America gives a shit about what's happening. I'm sure that other countries take note as well - no citizen's uprising.

But what are the citizens expected to do anyway? If you go against the current here, you're more likely to be handled as they handle terrorists. I feel that to fight in a "normal" way (protest like a moron, write letters to my congressman like a moron, etc...) is just stupid, and actually obeying their agenda anyway. They don't give a shit. When people protest, they're told where to do it, silly to me. No, if you want to make a difference, then you need to change the way you live. Sadly, it currently requires a change that, in the face of what most Americans call normal, is going to prove to be somewhat of a burden. And that's what the plan was all along anyway. The American people have it coming if they don't change their ways, and the current America government has it coming if the American people do change their ways.

Food = universal currency
Children (how you raise them) = universal vote to change the world

Re: And the saga continues.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44790197)

Well, personally, most of the people I know, friends, simply do not talk about it. It's not denial, but more apathy and defeat. They've never been really politically active to begin with, so what could they possibly do now to make a difference. At least that's how they see it. That, and they're too busy living fairly selfish lives. I.e, they'll read about it all, but refuse to make any personal change, or take any action.

Those friends who do talk about it, are of the same opinion, that the Gov. has overstepped legal authority, but aren't sure how to get all this back to something sane.

What's really amusing arenmy die hard Democratic friends who are still defending the Obama administration. You can see that they want to criticize him, and what the NSA, et.al are doing, however doing so, to them, would be betraying the party. I won't go into the obvious hypocrisy of that kind of thinking, especially when they bring up past and present Republican behavior.

In general, the problems are apathy, defeatist attitude, blind political party obedience, and disbelief that anything of significance will change, regardless of who gets elected, or what events transpire domestically or abroad.

The real kicker here, would be a domestic attack in the wake of all this. If the NSA, CIA, and FBI can't stop an event with the amount of information they seem to be gathering, no more amount of access would allow them to stop it.

Re:And the saga continues.... (1)

santosh.k83 (2442182) | about a year ago | (#44790203)

Reprisals would begin only when conditions get really bad. A nebulous invasion of privacy on digital networks is not something the average guy can either understand nor care. No, it'll take an economic, military or humanitarian disaster (not necessarily US based. Even a global disaster affecting the US) for the populace to really begin to rethink, and even then, as other parts of the world have demonstrated, most people will simply react in a knee-jerk manner and run towards the other extreme, and start the cycle again. In the long term, true education and building of values could do it, but once again the paradox of who will take the initiative, and how it is going to achieve critical mass are the questions. In short words, we are probably in for a very very horrible century of attrition, with positive values making only slow headway, against negative values built-up over millenia of our evolution. It's not just the US, it's the same everywhere.

Re:And the saga continues.... (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year ago | (#44790267)

There had been some reprisals [slashdot.org] , the EFF sued, requested information, tried to keep public informed. That won't mean that law or the wrongly called Department of Justice will do anything regarding it, or that the information that is requested would be just a bunch of lies (if they lies to the congress, and get promoted after that gets found, then they can lie on everyone).

Also there had been some diplomatic consequences, Germany, Brazil and other countries complained and had some diplomatic answers that if they had an IQ higher than 50 should had discarded as plain lies. And a lot of countries and companies are getting off the cloud and US based servers.

And last but not least, open source is getting a stronger push to become the preferred software used in a lot of countries. If them put some people to audit what is already there, and monitor changes to prevent infiltrations it is a better bet than using the known for sure to have NSA backdoors commercial alternatives.

Re:And the saga continues.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789701)

Is there any proof anymore to these claims? It's not like the USG has any interest in correcting any errors in these stories. Tomorrow someone could say that the NSA has flying unicorns, my half-brother's uncle's pet dinosaur keeper's niece spoke with Snowden's cousin, and then it goes on all the headlines...

Re:And the saga continues.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789717)

Why would the NSA not do this? The government should be distrusted by default.

Re:And the saga continues.... (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#44790239)

Is there any proof anymore to these claims? ...
With all Snowden has given and the PR stunts the named brands have had to offer with statements about gov requests and encrypting their backhaul..
GCHQ intercepted mobile phone calls where hinted at around the 1998 Omagh ie terms like monitored live was noted at the time.
The attempt of trying sim card changes and the database of US call history should give another hint.
The ability to collect voice prints over cities via aircraft and compare them to data collected in other parts of the world should give a hint (Colombia ~early 1990's tech pushed into the post 911 world ~ cell sites to phone networks).
Voice-recognition software is used on the ground for the audio of each call. The UK had its SIGMod upgrades hinted at in the UK press.
The UK legislation to legally use/keep all emails, details of web pages accessed and telephone calls "data" for many years was tried too... another hint.
Reports of deep packet sniffers testing on private telco networks made the press in the UK too under the Intercept Modernisation Programme... another hint.
The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act use per year was also a hint.
So you had all the back end to a huge haul of data but the security at the front end was also noted to be safe due to regional and legal differences around the world.
No brand would risk selling world wide sales drops......
The lack of any legal push for better working relationships between govs and telcos seems to be a hint too is everybody seemed to be doing just fine.
The spiegel fills in the final notes of when, the brands and the legal/tech changes as "temporarily unable" and whats was sold to the world as "uncrackable".
The dates fit with the UK press and UK laws around mid/very late 2000.
The option of limited hangout vs years of headlines? If you followed the tech news from the mid 1990's and looked at any crypto/telco history/law most if it was listed and public- as the tech and rush for bulk backhaul collection/storage and later legal use via new law.

Re:And the saga continues.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44790279)

I'm sorry, did you just throw up on the keyboard?

Re:And the saga continues.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789829)

They are winning the War on the Constitution. It is probably the only "War" series they have ever won.

Open Source Android (3, Interesting)

Oysterville (2944937) | about a year ago | (#44789657)

Are there any projects within the Android realm that can combat this? Given the open nature of the OS, it'd be nice if we could somehow adequately firewall such things.

Re:Open Source Android (4, Insightful)

zidium (2550286) | about a year ago | (#44789685)

The exploits and backdoors on Android devices are put in there by the manufacturers themselves, usually for monetary compensation and / or risk of harm from the agencies doing the threatening. There's no way around them.

Re:Open Source Android (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#44790063)

So, the NSA can get Samsung to put a backdoor into all its phones? What about the ones going to Europe? I find it hard to believe the back doors are being built into all of these phones.

Re:Open Source Android (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44790151)

You should find it hard to believe they'd not demand the backdoors be everywhere.
And our tax dollars are paying for every one of those. How many times over do you pay for a single phone between Virgin, Samsung, Virgin, NSA and Virgin again?

The TSA didn't limit itself to saving 18+ scanner photos for later fapping either.

Re:Open Source Android (1)

edman007 (1097925) | about a year ago | (#44790219)

No, they most likely don't have to. Root exploits are fairly well know and none of the phone manufacturers are that fast at fixing them (and this is how everyone roots their devices). As long as the NSA has a working root exploit for your phone (which may be kept open by google failing to notify Samsung of it's existence) then the NSA can use the exploit to root your phone, once rooted anything on the phone is readable, and encryption performed on the phone can be read on the clear side and the keys can be figured out if needed. Of course they rarely need to do that type of thing, most people sync with Google, and Google forces much of that syncing on the users, so the NSA's access to google servers gives them your contact list (and the google play store could probably be used to push things to a particular phone if need be).

Re:Open Source Android (1)

santosh.k83 (2442182) | about a year ago | (#44789695)

The mobile hardware can't be trusted, especially not in conjunction with the mobile carriers, and even one single piece of closed source software or firmware on such a phone could render it worthless. So, I suppose practically speaking Android can be assumed to be as compromised as everything else, although the scope to make it more resistant in future is better than with the closed source counterparts.

Re:Open Source Android (3, Informative)

pashdown (124942) | about a year ago | (#44789749)

Gibbertbot [guardianproject.info] offers OTR XMPP chat for Android, as does ChatSecure for iOS. The DuckDuckGo [duckduckgo.com] app for Androind/iOS offers untracked search over HTTPS. There are a number of PGP/GPG email readers/writers for Android and iOS.

All of this can be precluded by the NSA having a backdoor at the graces of the manufacturer, but we still don't know the extent of that. The article states that their iPhone surveillance required them to hack into the host iTunes computer, which can be prevented with a good firewall.

Re:Open Source Android (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44790255)

You will NEVER know it. The hardware is closed source. It may run a partially open source software stack, but just try to look up the detailed datasheets on one of the microprocessors inside your Android phone. "NDA please" is what you'll get. Also, who says the feature NSA uses to access this backdoor will EVER be revealed to you? Btw, most phones inherently trust their upstream carrier. Like REALLY trust it. As in, "yes, please update my firmware with whatever you'd like to do."

Re:Open Source Android (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789779)

No, because mobile phone hardware is specifically designed to make sure that user replaceable software like Android is kept inside a sandbox and only a government approved proprietary operating system can directly use the radio hardware.

Re:Open Source Android (1)

Xicor (2738029) | about a year ago | (#44789929)

the ubuntu edge WOULD have combated this, but sadly it only recieved 1/3 of the funding it needed. that being said, if they dont have backdoors in the hardware, then the ubuntu phone os will not have backdoors (said by mark shuttleworth of canonical(not an american company and therefore doesnt give a shit))

NSH (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789659)

No Surprises Here.

The reach of the NSA, along with many other government agencies, will continue to grow. We aren't just the leaders of the world in political bullshit, bombing other countries and killing people with drones ... we're also leading the world in spying on our citizens as well as other governments and their citizens too.

Well really... (2)

santosh.k83 (2442182) | about a year ago | (#44789683)

Not surprising given that the smartphone hardware and software are very much propreitary in nature, and allow for easier exploitation since third party auditing is practically impossible for the entire ecosystem.

At this point nothing except a ground-up freshly designed and built system and either written from scratch software or highly trusted ones like OpenBSD (without installing anything except base system) can be regarded as tentatively safe, and even this security is gone once such system connects to the Internet since once data is beyond the system, NSA can still intercept and crack it.

We need clean engineered hardware, and software, and that's not going to happen anytime soon, so we have to make do with open source software and best security practices and air-gapping sensitive stuff, or not storing it in digital systems in the first place

Happy now? (-1, Troll)

Cornwallis (1188489) | about a year ago | (#44789699)

Hey Obanaistas, ready to admit your guy is even worse than Bushitler?

Re:Happy now? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789735)

Hey Obanaistas, ready to admit your guy is even worse than Bushitler?

No, we'll just accuse you of being a racist. Hope you understand.

Re:Happy now? (0, Offtopic)

Cornwallis (1188489) | about a year ago | (#44789811)

In fact, I don't. How about explaining it to me?

Re:Happy now? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789845)

In fact, I don't. How about explaining it to me?

It's all we have left.

Re:Happy now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789765)

Hail Bannack Obana!

Re:Happy now? (4, Insightful)

Narcocide (102829) | about a year ago | (#44789781)

NOPE but I'm willing to admit I'll probably never vote Democrat or Republican again.

Re: Happy now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44790141)

Yes you will. Trust me on this, you will. That, or you won't vote at all; which is same as being apathetic.

Meaningless (0, Troll)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year ago | (#44789719)

Phones are connected to networks. Government agencies by definition have the ability to issue warrants to get the network provider to turn over all data that passes through their network. Every government on the planet does this and has since the invention of the telephone. It's called a wiretap [eff.org] and the logic was extended for text [justice.gov] and other data.

The network provider owns the network. Through the use of warrants the government owns the network provider. When you own the network you own all of the data going over it. With devices that perform MITM on the fly your encryption is useless unless you exchanged the key offline ahead of time. These devices [sourcefire.com] have been sold for government and corporate use for many years.

The idea that anyone has ever had privacy on their mobile is a myth that has never had any basis in reality. You want a secure phone that your favorite government bad guy can't get into? Go to the store, buy your favorite phone and leave it in the package.

Re:Meaningless (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about a year ago | (#44789747)

If you bothered reading the articles on this latest revelation, you would see that the issue is e.g. using targeted attacks to pull data off a phone onto a computer (and then over the network to NSA) when the phone is plugged into the computer. This isn't a story about the NSA vacuuming up data between mobile phones as it passes over the network.

And now Act II and Act III (4, Interesting)

ehack (115197) | about a year ago | (#44789721)

And now comes Act II where intercepted data can be shown in secret to a judge to obtain convictions without the defense being able to review same.
Then in Act III trials will be held in secret chambers with no defense.

Re:And now Act II and Act III (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789819)

Then in Act III trials will be held in secret chambers with no defense.

What do you mean no defense? In the Soviet Union you could always defend against political criminal charges with pleading insanity, this is who you are modeling your system after, right?

Re:And now Act II and Act III (1)

Narcocide (102829) | about a year ago | (#44789983)

What is the sentence in the Soviet Union for being convicted of insanity??

Re:And now Act II and Act III (1)

Narcocide (102829) | about a year ago | (#44789999)

Incidentally I'm pretty sure he was alluding to the Gestapo [wikipedia.org] .

Belief In Law (3, Interesting)

b4upoo (166390) | about a year ago | (#44789783)

Obviously if phone traffic is intercepted most of the crimes mentioned in conversations would not relate to terrorism. One wonders how many criminal prosecutions could take place if all crimes detected were subject to prosecution. Murder plots, cases of fraud and tax cheating, drug sales and smuggling and prostitution would all certainly be found with ease. It would quickly become obvious that our local and national government have little interest if stopping most crime.
                If you don't believe this or do not want to believe it think about this one simple situation. People leaving bars in the wee hours are often drunks driving home. A smart cop would not want to stop people at closing time as he would be pulling over bar staff leaving work. But almost everyone leaving a bar 3o minutes before closing is legally drunk. So simply sitting at an advantageous spot and pulling over cars leaving the bar would yield a huge amount of good arrests. Yet town discourage cops from using this tactic as it disrupts business. Think about that a bit. Wouldn't we want to catch every drunk driver every time they drive drunk?

Re:Belief In Law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789961)

They do this in the Netherlands.
Don't fucking drive after you have drunk.
Just walk home. I know no-one walks in the USA

Re:Belief In Law (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44790191)

My wife and I were "ambushed" by two police cars after leaving a bar after closing. We only lived about 1000 feet from the bar, but they had to detain us for 30 minutes anyway. At the end of the ordeal they drove us home (yes 1000 feet) and told us that "the next time we get "sloshed' that we should have a way to get home. We weren't even "sloshed". Cops in the US are real bastards.

Re:Belief In Law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44790175)

They'd rather just have everything they need to completely fuck up anyone that annoys them, tries to whistleblow or otherwise.

When the information is secret and the defense not even able to see it, or perhaps even know the charges, they can also use their 'ownership' of such a giant database as an excuse to write any damn thing they want in there as "evidence they dug up" too.

None of this is about stopping crimes.

White hat or black hat, they're paid hackers (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year ago | (#44789823)

Yeah, the guys who jailbreak iPhones and root Android devices. How about the crackers - all those pirated programs on the internet, or DeCSS and the bluray keys that are published. The ones who hack new features into Canon cameras with third party firmware. You know these guys, right?

Great - now go pick the ones who have trained for this and have PhDs in cryptography. Give them a $80-120,000/yr salary and benefits. Tell them they are responsible for keeping the USA safe by ferreting out every plot that gets communicated over any device in the world.

Congratulations, you now know who works for the NSA. And yet, somehow, we're surprised that they've managed to crack (for surveillance) the same devices we crack for entertainment and features.

Re:White hat or black hat, they're paid hackers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44790163)

The NSA is not interested in Cryptography PhDs -- these people work mostly on things that do not directly benefit the NSA. Much more useful are programmers and security people, which focus on practice; attacking systems and hiding their tracks. As Bruce Schneider wrote about this: the NSA will be working with vulnerabilities, not with new math.

What? (1)

lennier1 (264730) | about a year ago | (#44789839)

Blackberry and secure? That's why they're handing out surveillance access to oppressive regimes left and right?

Thank you Edward Snowden (5, Insightful)

rvw (755107) | about a year ago | (#44789867)

I cannot thank you enough for making all this information public, and for giving up your normal life to inform us. I hope that one time you will be recognized by the UN, EU and most hopefully for you the US, so you can return to your own country without being prosecuted.

Re:Thank you Edward Snowden (4, Informative)

wjcofkc (964165) | about a year ago | (#44789927)

It's easy to look at this post as redundant at a glance. The truth is, we cannot say this enough. Here, have my last mod point.

Re:Thank you Edward Snowden (5, Informative)

Oysterville (2944937) | about a year ago | (#44789957)

You're in luck! By posting to the thread after moderating it, you get your mod point back!

Re:Thank you Edward Snowden (4, Interesting)

Qzukk (229616) | about a year ago | (#44789987)

Actually, he doesn't get the mod point back, it just disappears.

Also if you mod then post AC from the same IP, it just disappears too, only without the "you're about to undo your moderations" warning.

Re:Thank you Edward Snowden (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about a year ago | (#44790049)

Well that's good to know after all these years : \ Why is it that I remember the system giving a warning when you attempt to mod and post? I didn't get one, and when I didn't get a warning, I thought something changed and all was cool. Sigh... Slashdot\code has been doing random strange things over the last few months.

Re:Thank you Edward Snowden (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44790201)

Sigh... Slashdot\code has been doing random strange things over the last few months.

Sorry some of our Slashdot code tweaks to unmask Anonymous Coward's locations and identities messed up the moderation system a bit. Don't worry though, you can trust us to get it and ac's resolved. Thank you for your patience.

The NSA

Re:Thank you Edward Snowden (1)

steelfood (895457) | about a year ago | (#44790263)

Ha! Return to his own country? Maybe in 40, 50 years, when all the dust he kicked up has settled, and only if for the better. And that's assuming the CIA hasn't offed him by then.

Wake me up when (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789873)

Wake me up when we start taking those matters seriously by enforcing a default crypto clusterfuck over the interwebs at the IP protocol level and shooting down the people responsible for this mess.

Where'd all the "BOOOOSH!" wackos go? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789915)

Obama administration had restrictions on NSA reversed in 2011 [washingtonpost.com]

The Obama administration secretly won permission from a surveillance court in 2011 to reverse restrictions on the National Security Agency’s use of intercepted phone calls and e-mails, permitting the agency to search deliberately for Americans’ communications in its massive databases, according to interviews with government officials and recently declassified material.

In addition, the court extended the length of time that the NSA is allowed to retain intercepted U.S. communications from five years to six years — and more under special circumstances, according to the documents, which include a recently released 2011 opinion by U.S. District Judge John D. Bates, then chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

What had not been previously acknowledged is that the court in 2008 imposed an explicit ban — at the government’s request — on those kinds of searches, that officials in 2011 got the court to lift the bar and that the search authority has been used. ...

Obama's doing every damn thing that wackos claimed Hallibushitlercheney did.

Re:Where'd all the "BOOOOSH!" wackos go? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44790027)

And you're posting this shit in a story complaining about Obama's administration doing these things and asking us why we're not complaining when Obama does it? Are you that blinded by your partisanship or are you just a retard?

BTW if you want to be all partisan about it, "banned in 2008" = "we've used it until then but next year a liberal is going to be president so we want to make sure he can't go all 'unitary executive' on us with all the powers we created for ourselves."

They told me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44789963)

They told me that if we elected John McCain we'd be subjected to increased government intrusion, powers and spying.

Thanks hard working journalists.

Re:They told me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44790105)

They probably weren't lying. It's just that

A implies B

does not mean that

!A implies !B

Inevitable (1)

hessian (467078) | about a year ago | (#44789971)

Thanks Obama!

All phones? (1)

SwashbucklingCowboy (727629) | about a year ago | (#44790023)

Just because they can crack a four digit password on an iPhone doesn't mean they can quickly crack a 24 character password. A four digit password can be easily brute forced. That's not true with a 24 character password (emphasis on "easily"). Of course, few people have 24 character passwords.

Are the Kardashians on tonight? (0)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year ago | (#44790107)

I'm an American. I don't care what my government does to me or what liberties it takes away as long as I can get my daily dose of banal entertainment.

Re:Are the Kardashians on tonight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44790199)

There's probably DS9 reruns on Space, or were they prominent in Enterprise?

Well I know that makes ME feel safer anyway. (1)

scarboni888 (1122993) | about a year ago | (#44790223)

Those of you who it doesn't are probably doing something wrong and need to hide it, right?

FISA court should be impeached (4, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | about a year ago | (#44790243)

The Obama administration secretly won permission from a surveillance court in 2011 to reverse restrictions on the National Security Agency's use of intercepted phone calls and e-mails, permitting the agency to search deliberately for Americans' communications in its massive databases,

That is so obviously unconstitutional that the FISA court is clearly in violation of its oath to uphold the constitution.

BlackBerry highly secure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44790247)

BlackBerry, a system previously believed to be highly secure.

By whom? That must have been very naïve people.

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