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Defending Against Surveillance?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the big-brother-lives dept.

Privacy 157

Extrudedaluminiu asks: "With the recent news about domestic spying by the NSA, American citizens are put in a very difficult situation. Citizens in other countries, around the globe, also find themselves in situations where their lives can be examined by government agencies or other groups of questionable ethics. What can people in this kind of world do to defend themselves? Are there any approaches to thwarting or mitigating surveillance that will work on a mass scale? What technologies can people use to hold on to their freedoms, in a difficult world?"

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157 comments

Stuff That Doesn't Work (1, Informative)

nuintari (47926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14285505)

I can assure, anything you saw in enemy of the state is pure bullshit. sweeping the room with an AM radio,while switching channels.... hello? other frequency ranges? Sticking strange decies in your spent potatoe chips bags won't do squat either, Mylar is just sooo reflective.

Coat Hangers in the ceiling does nothing, nor does the tinfoil/aluminum foil hat.

Anyone else know any good ones that are just utter bunk?

Re:Stuff That Doesn't Work (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14285832)

What will work is mass disobedience. Surveillance systems work only if they have clues that they can look out for that stand out in some way. The simplest way to, say, make it impossible for a request for the original translation of the little red book to be flagged, is for loads of people to request it.

So if you can convince large numbers of people, if possible a majority, to continually perform acts which might flag systems like Echelon, eg. by continually generating and sending emails containing keywords like "bomb" and "kill the president" and things like that, you will render their effectiveness null.

Re:Stuff That Doesn't Work (-1, Flamebait)

Keebler71 (520908) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286294)

and when you succeed in overwhelming the surveillance system and a dirty bomb goes off in a major city you will be complicit. How will that make you feel? Are tens of thousands of lives worth losing the right to make international calls freely with known terrorist networks (that is the limit of scope of the most recent NSA revelations).

If such systems as Echelon exist, they do serve a useful purpose albeit they may have the possibility of infringing our rights. How about we instead focus our energies to make sure they are used appropriately following due processes of law instead of trying to render them completely "ineffective" even for the worst cases for which they were designed.

Re:Stuff That Doesn't Work (3, Insightful)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286361)

Bzzztttt!

Appeal to Fear.

Well known logical fallacy.

You lose. Try again.

Other examples:
"You know, Professor Smith, I really need to get an A in this class. I'd like to stop by during your office hours later to discuss my grade. I'll be in your building anyways, visiting my father. He's your dean, by the way. I'll see you later."

"I don't think a Red Ryder BB rifle would make a good present for you. They are very dangerous and you'll put your eye out. Now, don't you agree that you should think of another gift idea?"

"You must believe that God exists. After all, if you do not accept the existence of God, then you will face the horrors of hell."

"You shouldn't say such things against multiculturalism! If the chair heard what you were saying, you would never receive tenure. So, you had just better learn to accept that it is simply wrong to speak out against it."

Re:Stuff That Doesn't Work (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286565)

"I don't think a Red Ryder BB rifle would make a good present for you. They are very dangerous and you'll put your eye out. Now, don't you agree that you should think of another gift idea?"

You've never seen A Christmas Story [imdb.com], have you?

Re:Stuff That Doesn't Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14286633)

People like you need to wake up! "IF" ... are you serious, are you that uneducated and ignorant, or maybe illiterate, or just too damn lazy to read? It is because of uneducated [m]asses like yourself that throw away our freedoms that the founding fathers of the US put in place Electoral College. So, the ignorant masses can not become the feared Machiavelli's "tyranny of the majority".

Go to www.google.com/unclesam and do a search for Carnivore, or Echeleon, or whatever you fits your fancy. Go read already!

"They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security"
- Benjamin Franklin Let me translate what our founding father here was trying to say: "if you don't want freedom move to china...bitch!

Re:Stuff That Doesn't Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14287045)

Your tinfoil hat needs adjusting. I recommend you take a break and see if you can go a day without watching Enemy of the State.

Re:Stuff That Doesn't Work (0, Troll)

Keebler71 (520908) | more than 8 years ago | (#14287265)

I can assure you I am significantly more informed about this subject than you are. Regardless, you need to learn that reading has nothing to do with being knowledgeable.

I you want me to "read up" on Echeleon, fine. Here are some other google searches for you as well:

ahref=http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&c2coff=1& q=abominable+snowman&spell=1rel=url2html-23792 [slashdot.org]http ://www.google.com/search?hl=en&c2coff=1&q=abominab le+snowman&spell=1>

ahref=http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=loch+ne ss+monster&btnG=Google+Searchrel=url2html-23792 [slashdot.org]htt p://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=loch+ness+monste r&btnG=Google+Search>

ahref=http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=ufo&btn G=Google+Searchrel=url2html-23792 [slashdot.org]http://www.google .com/search?hl=en&q=ufo&btnG=Google+Search>

Just because you can google it, doesn't make it true.

Re:Stuff That Doesn't Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14286351)

What will work is mass disobedience. Surveillance systems work only if they have clues that they can look out for that stand out in some way. The simplest way to, say, make it impossible for a request for the original translation of the little red book to be flagged, is for loads of people to request it.

So if you can convince large numbers of people, if possible a majority, to continually perform acts which might flag systems like Echelon, eg. by continually generating and sending emails containing keywords like "bomb" and "kill the president" and things like that, you will render their effectiveness null.

M-x spook

Re:Stuff That Doesn't Work (1)

lynzh (820948) | more than 8 years ago | (#14285983)

At the private car where I sometimes work there were police cars running by frequently, sniffing here and there. After some weeks of policemen harrasment we had our lawyer file a complaint about being harrased at our 'hobby shed'. Since then I haven't seen any policecars on the prowl.

Re:Stuff That Doesn't Work (3, Interesting)

technos (73414) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286217)

weeping the room with an AM radio,while switching channels.... hello? other frequency ranges?

Actually, this used to work with early miniature transmitters. In an effort to keep them small, very little attention was paid to what undesirable RF was being thrown off by the device.

Re: Stuff That Doesn't Work (3, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286219)

> Coat Hangers in the ceiling does nothing, nor does the tinfoil/aluminum foil hat.

Sure they do. After spending a few hours watching you putting up the hangers and making the hat, they'll write you off as a kook and spend their time spying on someone else.

Re:Stuff That Doesn't Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14286524)

They'll never catch you if you post anonymously.

Ballot boxes, envelopes, and postage (5, Informative)

Pyromage (19360) | more than 8 years ago | (#14285508)

For Gods sake people, what's wrong with you?! Write your Senators & Reps, and if they don't do anything, then vote these assholes out of office when the elections come! Donate money to the ACLU.

Seriously people, technologies won't help you hold on to your freedoms. There's no silver bullet. You have to do it for yourselves!

Re:Ballot boxes, envelopes, and postage (4, Insightful)

rkcallaghan (858110) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286002)

For Gods sake people, what's wrong with you?! Write your Senators & Reps, and if they don't do anything, then vote these assholes out of office when the elections come! Donate money to the ACLU.

Seriously people, technologies won't help you hold on to your freedoms. There's no silver bullet. You have to do it for yourselves!


What do you suggest if:
* - Our Senators & Representatives are bought off / unreachable.
* - Our voting machines are rigged and we're unable to vote them out of office.
* - While being monitored, we have no means of collaboration and organization to form a revolution.
* - Were a revolution organized, we have no weapons of any signifigance to mount an effective revolution.

You can disagree with me whether the first two are true or not; that's okay. This is a theoretical discussion which ultimately lands square on the third one. The fourth is provided for clarity.

~Rebecca

Re:Ballot boxes, envelopes, and postage (2, Interesting)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286182)

* - Our Senators & Representatives are bought off / unreachable.

Run against them, or support someone to run against them.

* - Our voting machines are rigged and we're unable to vote them out of office.

File suit in federal district court. Election fraud causing more than the margin of error of a difference is provable in court, and worst comes to worst there's always the option of a recall election.

* - While being monitored, we have no means of collaboration and organization to form a revolution.

Your revolution should START with the collaboration and organization. Our system of government was designed to have bi-annual non-violent revolutions. The Republicans did it, the Civil Rights movement did it, the pro-alcohol lobby did it, and the prohibition movement did it.

* - Were a revolution organized, we have no weapons of any signifigance to mount an effective revolution.

With a just cause and a convincing argument of actual fraud on the part of the elected government, you can expect the United States military to fracture and bring the weapons for you. The oath is "defend the consitution", not "defend the President."

Re:Ballot boxes, envelopes, and postage (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286587)

What do you suggest if:
* - Our Senators & Representatives are bought off / unreachable.
* - Our voting machines are rigged and we're unable to vote them out of office.
* - While being monitored, we have no means of collaboration and organization to form a revolution.
* - Were a revolution organized, we have no weapons of any signifigance to mount an effective revolution.


Commit murder-suicide on your family because there's no hope?

Re:Ballot boxes, envelopes, and postage (1)

ndansmith (582590) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286761)

* - Were a revolution organized, we have no weapons of any signifigance to mount an effective revolution.

I suggest you do what Mahatma Gandhi [wikipedia.org] did in India.

Re:Ballot boxes, envelopes, and postage (2, Insightful)

aminorex (141494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14287590)

That depends on your oppressors having a conscience. Not applicable to the U.S.

Re:Ballot boxes, envelopes, and postage (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286841)

What do you suggest if:* - Our Senators & Representatives are bought off / unreachable.
Picket them. Force your way towards them.
* - Our voting machines are rigged and we're unable to vote them out of office.
Smash them.
* - While being monitored, we have no means of collaboration and organization to form a revolution.
Overwhelm the surveillance with bogus data.
* - Were a revolution organized, we have no weapons of any signifigance to mount an effective revolution.
Just do nothing at all. Bring everything to a screeching halt.

Revolutions don't need guns (2, Interesting)

Phronesis (175966) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286984)

Were a revolution organized, we have no weapons of any signifigance to mount an effective revolution.

In 1979, largely unarmed civilians overthrew the government of Iran, which boasted the world's sixth largest armed forces and was led by Shah Reza Pahlevi, whose brutality toward dissidents was legend---he was torturing children to make their parents talk long before Saddam Hussein was.

The current regime in Iran is almost as bloodthirsty and evil as the Shah's but my point is not to defend them, just to point out that revolutions don't need weapons if people understand political tactics. Most importantly, if the soldiers and police were to lose faith in the current regime then repression becomes impossible.

We don't have the sort of corrupt and evil government that you hypothesize above, but if we did, the people would not stand for it and would throw them out of power in a heartbeat.

Re:Ballot boxes, envelopes, and postage (2, Insightful)

Weird_one (86883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14287060)

You missed one, the first and most important one.

*- How do you convince a large enough percentage of the populace that freedom is worth dying for, and especially more than that new Celine Dion CD, and their SUV?

Re:Ballot boxes, envelopes, and postage (2, Insightful)

mattwarden (699984) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286176)

And what shall I do while I'm spending all of my free time trying to educate a population who is rather uninterested with invasions of privacy? How can I protect myself until enough elections pass to get a critical mass of responsible Congressmen elected?

What's wrong with me? What's wrong is that I realize that when push comes to shove, I have to be able to defend myself, no matter what idiot gets elected (unfortunately, I do not control the entire electorate... yet).

You can't just dismiss the question. That's nearly as bad as accepting the situation. You're obviously opposed to the invasions of privaciy and destruction of liberties. Tell me, how much time to you devote to getting freedom-protecting people elected? How much do you donate to the ACLU? Did you vote for crappy presidential candidate #1 or crappy presidential candidate #2 in the last election (forgive my assumption that you're an American; it's really just rhetorical here).

It doesn't say "You have these rights, as long as you devote all your time to politics" in the Constitution. What's wrong with using legal means as well as reasonable political means to protect one's freedoms and privacy?

No, it'd be too obvious (2, Funny)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 8 years ago | (#14285520)

I can't say that, no, that'd be blatantly obvious...

Tinfoil hats!

I couldn't resist...

Re:No, it'd be too obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14286631)

They capped the Washington Monument with aluminum, and look how much good that did!

being better citizens ? (2, Informative)

metalcup (897029) | more than 8 years ago | (#14285521)

Pehaphs by being more proactive as citizens, and demanding and electing the right set of people to legislate. This, IMO, whould be a permanent solution - we could keep developing ways of evading 'surveillance', but the the agencies would just develop something better - wouldn't they ? FP, btw :D

Move to Canada. (3, Funny)

keesh (202812) | more than 8 years ago | (#14285525)

Move to Canada. I hear they still have a few remaining civil liberties here.

Re:Move to Canada. (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286613)

I hear they still have a few remaining civil liberties here.

Like the recommendation [bbc.co.uk] by the former Ontario Attorney General that sharia be allowed as the law in family courts?

Thank Atheism your post was modded funny!

Re:Move to Canada. (1)

belmolis (702863) | more than 8 years ago | (#14287238)

That was to be voluntary, only for Muslims, and in any case was NOT implemented. In fact, the Ontario government not only decided against this proposal, it now plans to abolish all use of religious law in the legal system [www.cbc.ca], including the Jewish courts, which have not been a problem.

Re:Move to Canada. (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 8 years ago | (#14287577)

That was to be voluntary, only for Muslims, and in any case was NOT implemented.

And I did indicate that it was a recommendation.

Let's talk, then, about Canadian freedom from politically incorrect speech.
http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/bernstein200 312020910.asp [nationalreview.com]
http://www.zerointelligence.net/archives/000565.ph p [zerointelligence.net]
http://www.canadianfreespeech.com/battles/vancouve r/doug_collins.html [canadianfreespeech.com]

Re:Move to Canada. (1)

belmolis (702863) | more than 8 years ago | (#14287737)

Yes, you mentioned that it was a recommendation, but not that it would have been voluntary and restricted to Muslims or it had already been definitively rejected.

On the subject of laws against hate speech, I agree that they are wrong, but that's another topic. Overall civil liberties in Canada are in good shape, better than the great majority of other countries, but it is true that there are areas, such as the hate speech laws, that could use improvement.

Re:Move to Canada. (1)

mi (197448) | more than 8 years ago | (#14287348)

Move to Canada. I hear they still have a few remaining civil liberties here.
For goodness sake, they don't even have a Constitution!

Huge actual holes in the civil liberties also exist -- one of the provinces, for example, mandates the use of a certain language in public life.

Re:Move to Canada. (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 8 years ago | (#14287639)

For goodness sake, they don't even have a Constitution!

And since when has a constitution ever been anything more than a piece of paper with words on it?

Did the fact that the US has a constitution prevent millions of African Americans being held as slaves? Not for the first 80 years of its existence. There were 12 amendments on other matters before the government finally got round to adding a ban on slavery to their text.

Did the fact that the US has a constitution then guarantee the newly freed African Americans the same rights as Americans of other ethnicities? No, segregation persisted for another century after that.

Did the fact that the US has a constitution prevent other abuses of rights and liberties, such as the prohibition of alcohol or the internment of Japanese Americans (most of whom were full US citizens)? Nope.

Does it today prevent abuses like mentally disabled people being executed for crimes they don't even understand, or people being executed for crimes they committed as a child? No. Does it enable you to exercise your rights of free speech and free assembly by holding a banner critical of the president somewhere where he might see it? No. Does it even prevent obviously ludicrous violations of people's rights like the "three strikes" laws? Why, no, the Supreme Court has actually found that it is constitutional to jail someone for 25 years to life for stealing a slice of pizza!

Man, that's some constitution you guys have. I wish my country had something like that. No, really.

Be boring (4, Funny)

Weasel Boy (13855) | more than 8 years ago | (#14285529)

I'm sorry, but if they want you, they pretty much have you. Your only hope is to be so utterly dull that nobody wants you. You pretty much have to have no life whatsoever. Since you're asking for advice on Slashdot, I'd say you're safe.

No Electronics (2, Interesting)

CWRUisTakingMyMoney (939585) | more than 8 years ago | (#14285553)

If you have some information that you think is worth keeping, DON'T use electronics to store it. It seems that governments are focusing more on computers than on stuff printed or written on paper and hidden well. If you don't give them 1's and 0's to look at, they might not see anything at all. Just my $.02.

Vote (3, Insightful)

Karma Farmer (595141) | more than 8 years ago | (#14285554)

There's a super secret high-tech black box invented by the ancient g(r)eeks that is designed to protect your freedoms. It's regular, educated use will prevent survellience. I suggest everyone learn to use one.

It's called a "ballot box."

Re:Vote (2, Interesting)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286081)

Yeah .. I have heard of these .. along with this company called Diebold ... I hear that they are very supportive of the electoral process.

I think I can generalise that a lot of people don't trust the electoral process anymore. And even if the contest is honest, the main political parties seem to act in very similiar ways (probably due to the amount of special interest money floating around).

I am not sure how to reverse this trend of feeling that the government is screwing the electoral process and the people all at the same time. I think it would take electing some pretty impressive politicians, but I suspect that the electoral process also tends to weed out those sort of people.

Cynical, yes. But I think this is a serious problem - How do you get people involved if they feel no connection between what they do and what the government does.

NOTE that I am not pinning this on republicans or democrats, but rather the process in general.

Force Audit trail (1)

maxwells_deamon (221474) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286430)

If you live somewhere that uses a voting method that is not auditable, protest by sending in absentee ballots.

They are paper. They can be audited and they will more than offset the "cost savings" of having the electronic balloting.

Re:Vote (1)

wulfhound (614369) | more than 8 years ago | (#14287443)

Amen!! I get the feeling we're being governed by the kind of corporate middle managers (Bush, Blair...) who might make VP, but never CEO or Chairman. The interesting question is, who really /does/ hold all the power now? Ignoring all the idiot conspiracies about giant green lizards -- there seems to be a huge accumulation of wealth and power going up the chain, but where does it actually end up?

Re:Vote (1)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286529)

Ballot boxes only work when you (i.e., the population in general) actually have a chance to *choose* between different policies. If it's choosing between two evils that, for 95% of all cases, will screw you over in the same way, then you don't actually have a choice, and the ballot box is just a pseudodemocratic legitimation device for a corrupt system where laws go to the highest bidder.

Re:Vote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14287533)

There's a super secret high-tech black box invented by the ancient g(r)eeks that is designed to protect your freedoms. It's regular, educated use will prevent survellience. I suggest everyone learn to use one.
It's called a "ballot box."


Unfortunately, the effectiveness of the ballot box is directly proportional to the level of education and intelligence of its users.

Have you read any of the comments on other websites about this whole surveillance thing? There are millions upon millions of sheep out there bleating "oh, but they're not spying on me, so it's okay." And "but they have to spy on us to protect us, so it's okay." And "but I don't have anything to hide, so it's okay."

The ballot box will only prevent abuses of your rights if a majority of the people you have to share it with firstly recognise that there is a risk of abuse, and secondly, critically, care about the abuse. If they don't, then they'll happily vote for your rights to be abused.

Kind of like how the German people in the 1930s happily voted for a guy called Hitler, who told them he could protect them from the evil Jews and communists who'd set fire to the Reichstag...

I'll leave it to other people to risk Godwin's wrath by drawing the all-too-obvious analogies with recent events in the USA. Let it suffice to say that if the ballot box guaranteed any protection from tyranny, there would not have been a second world war or a holocaust.

Might as well go all the way! (2, Funny)

mister_llah (891540) | more than 8 years ago | (#14285592)

With 1984 and McCarthy era paranoia "in" this year, my advice to everyone is to turn in as many people who act suspiciously as possible... to draw attention away from yourself!

Re:Might as well go all the way! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14285939)

OK, I'll start. I believe the following people have been acting suspiciously, and may represent a serious danger to our fundamental way of life here in the UK. I suggest that they be arrested and put on trial as soon as possible.

  • Tony Blair
  • Charles Clarke
  • David Blunkett
  • Jack Straw
  • George W Bush
  • Donald Rumsfeld
  • Dick Cheney

Re:Might as well go all the way! (2, Insightful)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286284)

You don't want to go around talking like that, special branch and MI5 will be at you door before you know it. Our only hope is to vote Monster Raving Looney [omrlp.com]. At least then we'll have honest politicians ;p

Re:Might as well go all the way! (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286639)

You don't want to go around talking like that, special branch and MI5 will be at you door before you know it.

Move to the USA. You can say/write/publish all sorts of nasty things about W/Cheney/Rumsfeld and no one will touch you.

Just don't advocate harm to them. Then you might get sent to Guantanimo....

How about do nothing wrong? (-1, Troll)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14285684)

How about just not doing anything wrong in the first place and putting some belife in the judicial system, im not sure about you yanks, but i know that i generally trust the judicial system over here in the good ol' UK.

Hell, if they are searching me im pleased i dont know about it, as if i did, and i was some guy planning to blow my self up inside a place with lots of other people, i know i would try alot damn harder to NOT let them know im going to.

Re:How about do nothing wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14285735)

In the good ol' UK, failing to provide deryption keys when they are demanded will get you 2 years in jail.

Dont forget we have a Bush suckup running things here.

Re:How about do nothing wrong? (1)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14285759)

And how often do you have people demanding keys off you, and if you've done nothing wrong (my point in the first place) why would they?!

Re:How about do nothing wrong? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14285953)

Arrests under anti-terror legislation since 11 September 2001: 10,000s.

Convictions under anti-terror legislation since 11 September 2001: 10s.

Can anyone tell me what's wrong with this picture?

Re:How about do nothing wrong? (2, Insightful)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286099)

Yeah, it looks like a bunch of terrorists are getting off on legal technicalities.

Re:How about do nothing wrong? (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286387)

And the other 29,950 people arrested?

Re:How about do nothing wrong? (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286427)

I'm pretty sure you missed my point (not to mention the joke underlying it)

Read it again with this comment in mind and it may make sense. If not, I fear for your comprehension skills.

Re:How about do nothing wrong? (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14287073)

Sorry, I took your post the wrong way. I find it's best to put a smiley when you mean one around these parts, or you just look like yet another troll, and get a suitably sarcastic reply (or ignored) accordingly...

Re:How about do nothing wrong? (5, Insightful)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14285784)

You trust the system of a country with cameras on every corner, and a government that wants to hold you for 90 days so they have enough evidence to charge you with something?

Our judicial system on this side of the pond may have once been similar to yours, but you guys seem to be going down the 1984 route a lot faster than we are.

Heeelllloooooo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14285895)

Why do you think he posted that? He KNOWS they're watching!

Re:How about do nothing wrong? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14286052)

You trust the system of a country with cameras on every corner, and a government that wants to hold you for 90 days so they have enough evidence to charge you with something?

The government doesn't want to hold us for 90 days before charging us. They voted on it, they don't want it. The prime minister wanted it. He couldn't convince the rest of the government that it was a good idea.

Our judicial system on this side of the pond may have once been similar to yours, but you guys seem to be going down the 1984 route a lot faster than we are.

Not really. We've had terrorist detentions since the 80s, which was part of the response to the IRA. We've had cameras on the streets for as long as I can remember. Things aren't getting rapidly worse, despite recent terrorist attacks, our laws are remaining quite stable.

You know what? There isn't massive abuse. Sure, there's one or two incidents where somebody fucked up, but we don't have secret police, we have privacy (in fact, we have laws protecting our privacy, which is more than can be said for you guys), we have free association, and all those things that are antithetical to 1984.

Compare that with you holding files on peaceful protestors, with you actually having terrorist detentions that are demonstrably wrong, with you torturing your prisoners... it seems that you are much further along than the UK. Seriously, you held UK citizens as terrorists for years, and when we finally had them released to us, we responded by saying "Huh? There's no evidence whatsoever to suggest that these guys are terrorists", and promptly let them go. Are you really so convinced that we are further along than you? Because of a few cameras and a failed attempt at passing a stupid law?

Re:How about do nothing wrong? (2)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286501)

The government doesn't want to hold us for 90 days before charging us. They voted on it, they don't want it. The prime minister wanted it. He couldn't convince the rest of the government that it was a good idea.

Good point...I forgot that distinction. It's worth noting that Tony Blair, up to this point, has largely been doing whatever Bush asks for.

Are you really so convinced that we are further along than you? Because of a few cameras and a failed attempt at passing a stupid law?

Not anymore. You have some good points.

Really, I can't wait to vote again. From copyright law to terrorism legislation, it's been crazy here for years.

Re:How about do nothing wrong? (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286663)

The question is, who would you vote for?

I'd say if you are voting for a democrat or republican, you aren't accomplishing much.

Re:How about do nothing wrong? (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286728)

You're not accomplishing much if you don't, either. What's more important is voting on issues. If the challenger to an incumbant is advocating on issues that you care about, and the incumbant disagrees with you on policy, vote for the challenger, and participate in public polls where possible.

Even if the challenger doesn't win, your vote will hopefully have contributed to a narrow margin. And narrow margins scare sensible incumbants into adjusting their policies.

Re:How about do nothing wrong? (2, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286089)

What if you want to do something that's not wrong, but it is illegal? What if a future government introduced laws similar to those of Nazi Germany in the 1930's? Maybe it becomes illegal to shelter Muslims. You're saying you'd not do that because it's illegal? Or you've convinced yourself that "that couldn't happen here"?

Re: How about do nothing wrong? (3, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286231)

> How about just not doing anything wrong in the first place and putting some belife in the judicial system, im not sure about you yanks, but i know that i generally trust the judicial system over here in the good ol' UK.

Yeah, the worst they'll do if you're innocent is chase you through the subways and shoot you six times in the head.

Re: How about do nothing wrong? (3, Informative)

Paul Jakma (2677) | more than 8 years ago | (#14287918)

He wasn't chased at all. De Menezes *walked* through the station, broke into a trot on the platform to get into the train and then sat down. Next thing he knows a man who had accompanied him onto the train (a police officer, but Charles couldn't have known that because at no point did they identify themselves to him. Also at least 2 other surveillance officers were on the train with him) physically restrains him and pins him down into his seat, while two or more special ops police officers (or possibly soldiers..) come running along and then shoot him *eleven* times, no questions asked, over a 30 second period.

Course, he lived in the same building and had vaguely the same skin colour as a suspected terrorist, and he went from that building to a tube station, so you can't really blame the police.

The man reported by witnesses as running through Stockport station and jumping over the barrier was not Charles but one of the police officers (or SAS squaddies possibly, we don't know yet - MoD confirms military were involved, though they deny they were directly involved) running to go execute Charles.

Manual Typewriter, Multiple identical Cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14285804)

Go do all of your important work on a manual typewriter, no carbon paper, type each copy required. Keep multiple identical cars—made before they started putting all of these advanced computers in cars—inside of a three-car [or more] garage, and keep some people in your house for fodder, so that if they are following from above, they don't know which one is you [they do this for the president and celebrities, so why not you?]

Note: Obviously none of us do—or will do—this, as we are too busy online, posting on slashdot.

Re:Manual Typewriter, Multiple identical Cars (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286651)

Go do all of your important work on a manual typewriter, no carbon paper, type each copy required.
 
Won't work. Text can be recovered from the typewriter ribbon. With a film ribbon you can read directly off of the ribbon; with a new cloth ribbon you could probably do the same. A worn cloth ribbon might be harder to deal with, but I'm pretty sure that it could be done.

accept it (1)

pizpot (622748) | more than 8 years ago | (#14285937)

The best strategy is to accept the loss of freedom. Otherwise, it will look as though the terrorists had won, and destroyed the heart of the western world.

So slashdot is a help forum for psychotics? (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286004)

I guess maybe I'll start getting advice on how to soothe my mental illnesses on Slashdot soon, too. We'll start with my sex addiction.

Don't make it easy (4, Interesting)

linuxwrangler (582055) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286199)

Encrypt everything. Don't make it obvious what is important and what isn't and force "them" to waste lots of processor cycles to get Aunt Betty's cobbler recipe. I'm planning to convert all my web sites to HTTPS.

Also, help throw up smoke screens. Spare bandwidth can be used to send random garbage - some of it should be truly random so no amount of work will allow someone to conclude that they have successfully decrypted usless data but rather that they still have work to do.

Educate yourself so you know how to protect your rights in the event that you become an unjust target.

Donate to the EFF, ACLU or other rights-defender of your choice.

Write your legislators, support those who will defend your freedoms, fight those who don't, and vote.

And remember to separate the people, the goals and the techniques. There really are "bad guys" out there and we have many smart and dedicated people defending us against them. Help them where you can. But remember that they are all sworn to defend the Constitution (here in the U.S.) and it's up to us to make sure they remember and abide by that pledge. The ends do not always justify the means.

Re:Don't make it easy (1)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286551)

Spare bandwidth can be used to send random garbage - some of it should be truly random so no amount of work will allow someone to conclude that they have successfully decrypted usless data but rather that they still have work to do.

That only works if you make sure that the actual, real traffic also looks like truly random data.

Let's give 'em something to talk about...... (4, Interesting)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286213)

"Are there any approaches to thwarting or mitigating surveillance that will work on a mass scale?"

Poison their databases.

Plan and publicize, but don't hold, activities which fall under their "threat" category but aren't actually threatening, ie. protests at military related sites.

Call a flash mob that happens to be at such a place, but don't let that fact on when calling it.

Make sure to be at grandma's for Sunday dinner when such things do or do not occur.

Put up a web site for a bogus anti-something organization and encrypt the hell out of the pages, those being fair use snippets out of "Cryptonomicon" or some such.

There's far more potential spookees than spooks.

Re:Let's give 'em something to talk about...... (1)

Extrudedaluminiu (903390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286353)

How effective would something like this be? We don't quite know what is in these databases that we are spoofing.

Pretty obvious... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14286254)

...don't do anything to attract attention. Keep your nose clean. Do the right thing. Insert proactive ciche here. Simply put, the U.S. government could care less about Joe Sixpack. If you do things that make you stans out, then accept the consequenses of standing out.

Re:Pretty obvious... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14286423)

"Simply put, the U.S. government could care less about Joe Sixpack"

Yup, and if it happens to convenient to test psychotropic drugs on him - they certainly won't have any qualms, or at least did not have any in the past:

CIA shrinks and LSD [counterpunch.org]
LSD And The CIA [a1b2c3.com]

Or if you're a pesky US citizen in a 3rd world country, or have any contact with anyone from there, even in the US, you could wind up in a big mess:

John Negroponte - Ambassador to Honduras [wikipedia.org]
The Salvador Option [msn.com]

Am I 100% sure that all of these bad things happened? No. But I do know that people abuse power, and it's the nature of these organizations that very little, if anything, that they did which puts them in a bad light will wind up as public knowledge.

Approaches (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14286335)

Encryption isn't a sure-fire solution for all privacy problems. Its an easy word to throw around, but the question that is more important is what to encrypt and how to handle the infrastructure around that.

For example, I could encrypt all my email, ever. But then who would be able to read it? A lot less people than now. I could encrypt or hide all traffic to/from my computer (Tor, stunnel, etc.), but those won't solve everything.

Also, what about getting data from organizations? Like asking universities, bookstore, online data vendors, phone companies, and more? Dropping off the "grid" entirely is a difficult option. But those services could hold enough data about you to drive massive holes through any comprehensive privacy policy.

Encrypt Everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14286475)

Use GPG (PGP). Can Skype be tunneled via SSL? And wear sunglasses and a hat in public. Seriously. These nation of surveillance can't happen. Also, use your voting power. And your voice. Speak up! Donate to the EFF and the ACLU. Impeach serveral members of the current administration.

Domestic Spying? Or just being Dumb? (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286550)

As far as I can tell the incident under question was interception of international communications. The real puzzlement in this case is why the NSA didn't just go to the FISA court which routinely issues authorization for these sorts of intercepts. It is pretty unlikely that there would have been any issues with getting the authorization.

It seems to me to be more of a political foot-shot than anything.

Re:Domestic Spying? Or just being Dumb? (2, Interesting)

Stradivarius (7490) | more than 8 years ago | (#14287176)

I can only assume it's because FISA requires that there be probable cause that the subject of the intercept be a foreign power or agent thereof.

Suppose the government captures a terrorist's cell phone addressbook. They then decide they'd like to eavesdrop on everyone in that list, in case some of them are also involved in terrorism. The administration may not be able to convince a FISA judge that simply being in someone's phone list is "probable cause" that the person is themselves a foreign agent or terrorist.

Details on FISA [eff.org]

Anti-war protesters (2, Insightful)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 8 years ago | (#14287232)


The problem with that theory is, there's no credible indication that we've captured any terrorists to get address books from in the first place. Instead (from related reports) it seems more likely that they're going after administration critics, anti-war protesters, and others who they would be hard pressed to come up with probably cause for.

--MarkusQ

P.S. Another hole in the theory ("The administration may not be able to convince a FISA judge that simply being in someone's phone list is "probable cause" that the person is themselves a foreign agent or terrorist.") is that the problem isn't that they asked for permission, were denied, and went ahead anyway. They never asked in the first place, which makes it look a lot like they knew they were in the wrong from the very start.

Re:Domestic Spying? Or just being Dumb? (2, Insightful)

belmolis (702863) | more than 8 years ago | (#14287270)

It's conceivable that there are cases in which there is a legitimate reason for surveilance but in which the courts would not under current law issue a warrant. However, I think that it is important to note that NO SUCH ARGUMENT HAS BEEN MADE by the Bush Administration. They haven't outlined any such situations much less described any actual cases in which this problem has arisen. There is not a shred of evidence that the requirement for a warrant has been, or would have been had Bush not authorized warrantless interception, an impediment. Bush et al. just don't like having anyone keeping them in check. Its part of their general contempt for the rule of law.

Automatic encrypted IP (1)

cryptoluddite (658517) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286708)

What I'm suggesting is changing some flags/options in the ip or tcp/udp headers so that data is automatically encrypted. So just add this to the open source protocol stacks and most connection you make will be encrypted to some degree automatically... you wouldn't know that you were talking to the proper site, but you would at least know that your connections would be much more difficult to be intercepted automatically.

There would be some configuration that say you want lots of throughput (xtea) versus lots of encryption so a server can do like 5% more overhead but make it millions of times harder to read the traffic. The normal exchange, tcp syn with reply of syn,ack, provides enough steps to construct a shared 'secret' key, so your experience wouldn't need to be slowed down or degraded at all. It would just be much harder to intercept en masse.

Re:Automatic encrypted IP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14287366)

You mean like IPSec [wikipedia.org]? Just wait for IPv6.

Try again (2, Interesting)

Eil (82413) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286718)

Are there any approaches to thwarting or mitigating surveillance that will work on a mass scale?

No. Because if there were, or were actually used on a mass scale, they would be illegal very quickly.

Information overload (2, Interesting)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286819)

"If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, you can always baffle them with bullshit".

Keep talking. All the time. Say nothing but gibberish. Overwhelm them with data to the point that they can't cope anymore.

If 20% of a given ISP user's would, everyday, post random gibberish on 10 different USENET groups, this would be a good start. Let those fuckers wonder what the hell we're talking about.

Let them outlaw encryption. Let them sue everybody.

"The best way to force a redesign is to throw a monkey wrench in the works".

Don't cooperate with the police. Never talk to them. Let them wonder. Let them find out by themselves that you're up to nothing bad. Bog them down. Let them think that EVERY civilian is suspect.

Re:Information overload (4, Funny)

_Splat (22170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14287236)

If 20% of a given ISP user's would, everyday, post random gibberish on 10 different USENET groups, this would be a good start. Let those fuckers wonder what the hell we're talking about.

Fill USENET with garbage? I was pretty sure that was already happening...

Why bother? (0, Flamebait)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286844)

I really don't mind if the NSA spies on me. I don't have anything to hide. I'm not quite saying "if you're not a criminal, you don't have anything to hide," but honestly, I've sent enough passwords in cleartext, opened enough VNC ports, run enough unpatched systems, voiced enough subversive opinions in public, logged in on enough computers outside my control (including some that I know are being watched), sent my social security number to enough places, that if someone really wanted to steal my identity or my information there's nothing valuable.

Part of that is because I'm a student, so I don't have a credit account or so forth. But I'll treat my bank account with as much care as I treat a couple of other secure items; I'll maintain my prepaid phone so that I lose at most about $30, not $20000, if my phone gets stolen or "hacked", etc.

If I get a job that requires secrets, I know how to keep those safe. I've written and used a ciphersaber [gurus.com] for personal data, I use SSH for shell connections, I've tried my hand at Diffie-Hellman - and I'm smart enough to use professional products for AES and the like if necessary. But as of right now, I really don't care if you stick Carnivore on my router. Half of what you'll see is flash games, Wikipedia, and Xbox Live, and most of the rest I'll tell you if you ask nicely.

Scramble the cameras (3, Interesting)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286866)

Make yourself a cap visor and shoulder pads festooned with infrared LEDs. Cameras are sensitive to infrared radiation, and this will cause a bright halo around your face so you won't be identified by the cameras, yet people will not see the obstuctive light.

Bill of Rights, Crypto Communication Tools (4, Informative)

QuietRiot (16908) | more than 8 years ago | (#14286968)

US Bill of Rights [archives.gov]
 

[ Amendment IV ]
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and 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.
 

Want to read my stuff? Go ahead and crack it - no warrant necessary.
 
Get the rabbit installed on a machine behind your firewall
==> http://freenet.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]
Faster than freenet
==> http://www.i2p.net/ [i2p.net]
Encrypt Jabber
==> http://www.vanemery.com/Linux/Jabber/jabberd.html [vanemery.com]
Onion Routing
==> http://tor.eff.org/ [eff.org]
Emerging Network To Reduce Orwellian Potency Yield
==> http://entropy.stop1984.com/ [stop1984.com]
Free Internet telephony
==> http://skype.com/ [skype.com]
GNU-ified P2p
==> http://www.gnu.org/software/gnunet/ [gnu.org]
 
 
DO NOT DENY yourself about 2 hours @ InfoAnarchy.org [infoanarchy.org]
OMG! ==> http://www.infoanarchy.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Pag e [infoanarchy.org]

LearnLearnLearnLearn ==> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptography [wikipedia.org]
 
=================EMAIL ENCRYPTION===============
GPG (Free PGP)
==> http://gnupg.org/ [gnupg.org]
Integrated with Thunderbird
==> http://enigmail.mozdev.org/ [mozdev.org]
Mutt can't be beat as a mailreader and integrates GPG wonderfully.
==> http://mutt.blackfish.org.uk/ [blackfish.org.uk]
==> http://www.mutt.org/links.html [mutt.org]
==> http://wiki.mutt.org/index.cgi?UserPages [mutt.org]
 
!!! Please do not immediately send newly created keys to the keyservers (as many HOWTOs instruct new users to). They are already overflowing with "test keys" and other people's experiments from over the years THAT HAVE NO EXPIRATION and will never be deleted. These keys are "orphans" and most will never be used. As keyservers sync together, and most keys are never deleted once submitted - GET YOUR KEY SETUP CORRECTLY AND HAVE PRACTICE WITH IT BEFORE SENDING IT OFF TO THE KEYSERVERS!!! Otherwise storage requirements will continue to grow and using these in the future will become more difficult FOR ALL. Please, if you are just starting out with PGP or GPG or GnuPG or anything similar (the last two are in fact the same thing) use manual key distribution to begin (ascii armor your public key with
 

    $ gpg --export --armor my@email.address.org
 

and copy and paste it into an email body or attach it to an email
 

    $ gpg --export --armor my@email.address.org > myPubKey.txt
 

to gain practice with GPG before uploading your key. This way if you need to create another you won't have uploaded your mistakes. Many choices need to be made and it's worth getting things right before "going public" with your new digital ID. Experiment with yourself and a few different email accounts or with some friends first.)
 
  SET AN EXPIRATION OF 2-5 YEARS OR SO AND MAKE SURE YOU HAVE YOUR PREFERENCES THE WAY YOU LIKE THEM BEFORE SENDING TO A KEYSERVER! Better yet is to HOST YOUR KEY ON YOUR WEBSITE (or try using http://biglumber.com/ [biglumber.com] instead to host your key and help coordinate signatures to build your web [wikipedia.org] of [chaosreigns.com] trust [apache.org]).
 
Some are Quite Serious [zugschlus.de] about their security and the cred of any signatures they issue. Feel free to take the same precautions! :) (Not completely necessary but seeing this guy's sig on a key shure looks good - IF I trust what he says on his web page :) WOT Misconceptions [finney.org]
 
You then have full control over which signatures to distribute and can better control how others send private information to you (you can control things like which message-digest, encryption algorithms, and compression methods you prefer though the defaults are fine). Just link to your public key URL in your .sig (grep "keyserver-url" in the [recent] gpg man page) so that people can find you if they are GPG enabled. Search to see if your friends or regular email contacts have published a key at subkeys.pgp.net [pgp.net] and ping them with an encrypted mail. If they've published a key they *should* be setup to read your message - people get lazy - DON'T BE THAT GUY. Get the encryption plugin setup on your mailreader and encourage your contacts to use it!
 
Subscribe to gnupg-users@ list (and just "listen" for a bit before asking questions - many have already been answered and can be found in the archives):

        ARCHIVES : http://lists.gnupg.org/pipermail/gnupg-users/ [gnupg.org]

        SUBSCRIBE : http://lists.gnupg.org/mailman/listinfo/gnupg-user s [gnupg.org]
 
Getting started with GPG:
==> http://www.aplawrence.com/Basics/gpg.html [aplawrence.com]
==> http://www.gnupg.org/gph/en/manual.html [gnupg.org]
 
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
If you are a SMTP mailserver admin, ENABLE TLS [oreillynet.com] for the sake of your mail users - for the sake of us all.....
 
TLS For:
  Sendmail [joreybump.com]
  Qmail [inoa.net]
  Postfix [gmane.org]
 
If you're running Postfix you've got little excuse to not be running TLS. So easy..... [gmane.org]
 
My SMTP traffic is opportunisticly TransportLayerSecure. Is yours? [tu-cottbus.de]
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
 
/// Originally From Slashdot : VoIP Wiretapping [slashdot.org][comment [slashdot.org]] ///

intentionally left blank (3, Insightful)

cortana (588495) | more than 8 years ago | (#14287385)

-----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.1 (GNU/Linux)

hQEOAwrqJsAYQX3cEAP+KR6M0Ty7ETedwnNyg+B6eNpsOKEnmt 531lur0bgnzZzD
VsTSZlC+XHGkmdnIRGl8Ux1Spk4yC5+SnExYDdZpfFSnUYSuUa O9ZjULk4fiexn/
F3Df3qrN8rdW14ok9zEbX4BzflMs70D75rM5yqic2rIUeMoRuc 61gIFWIcKFYQYD /0tPqWl5gbUELf/p3fpNE+4KmwjjSg1a6ogM5haEOFWzPj2d8t X9RqWMXYPKXHtW
auC73kpn+BixXt5W+mScIV390XZBBxidj2UqkTvcxcqafi9udk Pcgy/O2vd+mI1u
BwwWvLwlrN2nxFWV0ijBDK/vjCyjPrLX6z/UTSh2Fwsl0n8BK/ mYaw0ZpvZjfLcu
PLKP5Hy2JwlRAH8Ci4SvpOdDjy+0wa5HIBbSLheLD0AK4Olntq 681JnQjr907Wj8
d5VuiAjjirRjcDqiVsFARKve7kzSNBSRfXQozDdUC4y95lfc2k xUiiWB+yKSR3Y+
X4xV/MX0g3e3JI6X/2/DquON
=wGEZ
-----END PGP MESSAGE-----
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