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 The PRISM Scandal - Feds spying on millions of people

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Vito

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PostSubject: Re: The PRISM Scandal - Feds spying on millions of people   Tue Jun 11, 2013 5:50 pm

Yak wrote:
Lost in the shuffle (apparently)
No, Yakst…not lost. I can’t address every point in the avalanche of stuff you’ve posted in this thread; there’s only so much time. Anyhow, I was hoping someone else would cover it, or that you would do your own research and discover for yourself that the infamous "_NSAKEY" was not a back door into Windows.

The short answer is that the "_NSAKEY" is a requirement so that NSA can test the software to confirm that it complies with export regulations. Certain kinds of software are actually subject to such regulations, especially software that uses strong encryption. That has been true for a long time, and as far as I know most people in the security community don't take issue with it.

The “_NSAKEY” issue caused quite a stir, and Mr. Fernandez garnered quite a bit of publicity for it. But it wasn’t a back door. Microsoft would utterly KILL their market credibility if they let such a thing happen, and in any case it would be immediately detected. If you don’t know how or why, then I take it you neither know about nor use network monitoring software.

See, even if the key were a back door, any responsible user is going to be running a network monitor that notifies him/her when an application makes an outgoing connection request. (I use Little Snitch...been using it for many years. It works great...and there are Windows equivalents.) Nobody can run a "back door" on any of my machines without my knowing it.

There’s a longer answer — including an explanation about the third key, and the fact that a back door in Windows (or any other software) is a different and separate issue from the PRISM surveillance scandal (over which Microsoft has no control) — but I’m not going to try to persuade you. You can research the issue for yourself. I have complete confidence that you will reach your own conclusions, irrespective of what I say. Wink

I’m certainly not going to attempt to defend Microsoft’s…er, “integrity” (such as it is). If they had true integrity they would actually fix the features in their software that have consistently and persistently remained broken, while they continue to add new “features” that eliminate operability that wasn’t broken in the first place. Jerks. Mad

Anyhow, I've written and published one significant workaround of a huge bug in MS Word's "Insert cross reference..." feature — a bug that Microsoft refuses to fix. So, I probably understand as well as anyone the degree to which Microsoft’s actions are both incompetent and injudicious. But far more experienced eyes than mine (and Mr. Fernandez’s, evidently) are all over Windows like white on rice every day. There’s no back door.

None of this absolves the NSA of the current chicanery, of course, which is bad enough without resurrecting the “_NSAKEY” scare. For my part, I rejoice that you and I actually agree on so much of what is wrong about the PRISM scandal.

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PostSubject: Re: The PRISM Scandal - Feds spying on millions of people   Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:22 pm

Some seem under the impression that this is recent. A number of years ago it was known that at least one floor in AT&T SF tower had been turned over to NSA and they had access to their complete network. Don't think of this as new or recent. The only real change has been the increases in storage capability and probably software scanning that pulls up anything suspect. I imagine the main improvement there is fewer false positives. I imagine that the period around the Boston incident drove those analysts bonkers with the rash of false positive that came from our discussions of death and tools of terror.

Having the data and not using it to its fullest extent makes collecting it a worthless activity.
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Vito

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PostSubject: Re: The PRISM Scandal - Feds spying on millions of people   Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:48 pm

JKenP wrote:
Some seem under the impression that this is recent. A number of years ago it was known that at least one floor in AT&T SF tower had been turned over to NSA and they had access to their complete network.

If "some" believe that, some didn't read this:
Vito wrote:
PRISM is essentially a next-step application of the same method that NSA was already caught doing in the Room 641A incident in 2006, wherein the Feds used a beam splitter on an Internet backbone fiber optic cable owned by AT&T. As the Electronic Frontier Foundation reported, it wasn't anything so trivial as a mere "wiretap" of Google, or Microsoft, ...etc.; it was a country tap — a massive interception of a huge portion of the Internet flowing in and out of the U.S.



JKenP wrote:
Having the data and not using it to its fullest extent makes collecting it a worthless activity.

Hmmm...I think there are many (including yours truly) whose greatest wish is that the Feds will not use the data to its fullest extent.

I respectfully submit that whether you or I or anyone else thinks their capturing the data is "worthless" is something they're not likely to be especially concerned about. The fact remains that they are capturing the data, and they're doing it by a circuitous route that ends up being a violation of the Fourth Amendment. The warrants under which they have intercepted the data give the NSA no right to seize the information of millions of users, most of whom could not possibly be specified on the warrants. Whether or how they use it is irrelevant. They're not entitled to seize it in the first place.

The Constitution is supposed to be the supreme law of the land. I'll be the first to admit that it's not perfect, but it's better than what we've got now.

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Andy Lowry



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PostSubject: Re: The PRISM Scandal - Feds spying on millions of people   Tue Jun 11, 2013 7:56 pm

Truecrypt and netstat are my best friends.
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Gumball

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PostSubject: Re: The PRISM Scandal - Feds spying on millions of people   Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:17 am

So they changed the name from ESCHELON to PRISM.

As a wise old frenchman (Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord) once said..."An important art of politicians is to find new names for institutions which under old names have become odious to the public."


In the UK we have been assured by our politicians that it is all very legal and necessary for our safety and they would never dream of doing anything underhand and that we should all go about our business and stay calm because mother knows best. We should under no circumstances ask for evidence that it legal etc Shocked

I have no problem with the government spying on me, so long as the government is okay with me spying on them. Unfortunately they don't seem to like that idea very much lol!
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PostSubject: Re: The PRISM Scandal - Feds spying on millions of people   Wed Jun 12, 2013 6:50 am

JKenP wrote:
Having the data and not using it to its fullest extent makes collecting it a worthless activity.
Vito wrote: wrote:
I respectfully submit that whether you or I or anyone else thinks their capturing the data is "worthless" is something they're not likely to be especially concerned about. The fact remains that they are capturing the data, and they're doing it by a circuitous route that ends up being a violation of the Fourth Amendment.



When I talked about not using the data being unlikely when they possessed it, I was not talking about legality or integrity.  I was point out the attraction being unstoppable.  I think you read extra.

The defense being mounted is already including their need to protect us and that opens all the data in their minds. 

It is nice to see that the House and Senate  are holding hearings.   Now if they'd just appoint a special prosecutor instead of resolving it politically, we might get this resolved a lot sooner.

Here another bit to misunderstand.  The politicians aren't the ones at fault.

P.S.  War footing created and creates a lot of exception that are overlooked by all patriotic Americans.  If you don't believe me, ask a Japanese-American my age.
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PostSubject: Re: The PRISM Scandal - Feds spying on millions of people   Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:58 am

The following is taken from www.slashdot.org and seems like good news for all American and for the Constitution. (Lots of links included)

"In an open letter addressed to U.S. attorney general Eric Holder and FBI director Robert Mueller, Google chief legal officer David Drummond again insisted that reports of his company freely offering user data to the NSA and other agencies were untrue. 'However,' he wrote, 'government nondisclosure obligations regarding the number of FISA national security requests that Google receives, as well as the number of accounts covered by those requests, fuel that speculation.' In light of that, Drummond had a request of the two men: 'We therefore ask you to help make it possible for Google to publish in our Transparency Report aggregate numbers of national security requests, including FISA disclosures—in terms of both the number we receive and their scope.' Apparently Google's numbers would show 'that our compliance with these requests falls far short of the claims being made.' Google, Drummond added, 'has nothing to hide.'"
Another open letter was sent to Congress from a variety of internet companies and civil liberties groups, (headlined by Mozilla, the EFF, the ACLU, and the FSF), asking them to enact legislation to prohibit the kind of surveillance apparently going on at the NSA and to hold accountable the people who implemented it. (A bipartison group of senators has just come forth with legislation that would end such surveillance.) In addition to the letter, the ACLU sent a lawsuit as well, directed at President Obama, Eric Holder, the NSA, Verizon and the Dept. of Justice (filing, PDF). They've also asked (PDF) for a release of court records relevant to the scandal. Mozilla has also launched Stopwatching.us, a campaign to "demand a full accounting of the extent to which our online data, communications and interactions are being monitored." Other reactions: Tim Berners-Lee is against it, Australia's Foreign Minister doesn't mind it, the European Parliament has denounced it, and John Oliver is hilarious about it (video). Meanwhile, Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who leaked the information about the NSA's surveillance program, is being praised widely as a hero and a patriot. There's already a petition on Whitehouse.gov to pardon him for his involvement, and it's already reached half the required number of signatures for a response from the Obama administration.
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PostSubject: Re: The PRISM Scandal - Feds spying on millions of people   Thu Jun 13, 2013 1:32 pm

there is a lot going on here, and i think this is rising to a point where people are getting pissed off. i've already been a victim of big brother watching what i do and was listed as a potential political threat because of my affiliation with a militant anti racism group in my youth. back then i refused to use cell phones, credit cards or email to do any communication with this group, and no purchases with credit cards at any place where we would meet up or any political places like bookshops, etc. i was pretty paranoid, and this was ten years ago. this whole scandal has raised a part of me that has laid dormant for many years and now i'm pissed. mostly my strong political views have to do with social issues and equality, and this strikes both home. there are a few groups who are listing ways of peaceful protest on the web, and i encourage everyone to take part in letting your voice get heard. i no longer partake in any form of violence, so i really do encourage as many of us as possible to stand up for ourselves and be heard before it turns to that.
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PostSubject: Re: The PRISM Scandal - Feds spying on millions of people   Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:35 pm

This isn't exactly Deja vu, is it?

 
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Slartibartfast

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PostSubject: Re: The PRISM Scandal - Feds spying on millions of people   Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:52 pm

Well gawwwwlly.  Surprise, surprise, surprise!   Rolling Eyes   monkey

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PostSubject: Re: The PRISM Scandal - Feds spying on millions of people   Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:08 am

Bogdan Cristel / Reuters wrote:
Microsoft may have misled millions of Skype users around the world by making claims last year that have since been contradicted by intelligence leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

National Security Agency documents leaked by Snowden to the Guardian and Washington Post last week have grabbed the attention of Americans concerned over the NSA’s blanketing surveillance of communications involving United States citizens. The NSA is regularly retaining the phone records for millions of Verizon customers, the documents revealed, and a separate program called PRISM allegedly lets federal investigators access Internet use information for customers of the biggest online services. One of those documents, a slideshow examining how the NSA has access to conversations conducted over nine major Internet services, may have caught Silicon Valley giant Microsoft in a lie.

Ryan Gallagher of Slate noted this week that one of the slides cited by the Washington Post was labeled a “User’s Guide for PRISM Skype Collection,” suggesting that the NSA has in place a method for eavesdropping on conversations conducted over the popular Web client acquired in 2011 by Microsoft.

According to the slide, NSA agents can listen in or watch Skype chats “when one end of the call is a conventional telephone and for any combination of 'audio, video, chat, and file transfers' when Skype users connect by computer alone.”

“This piece of information is significant for a number of reasons,” wrote Gallagher, but the most crucial perhaps is how it compares to Microsoft’s remarks last year. As RT wrote in 2012, Microsoft was awarded a patent that summer that provides for “legal intercept” technology that allows for agents to “silently copy communication transmitted via the communication session” without asking for user authorization.

At the time, Gallagher was one of the most critical reporters examining the patent, and grilled Microsoft relentlessly to see if this meant that a program previously considered highly-encrypted and tough to crack could provide a backdoor to government agents at the drop of a hat. However, Skype Corporate VP of Product Engineering & Operations Mike Gillet also explained to ExtremeTech.com that the company was making changes in its infrastructure, but that they were being done to “improve the Skype user experience.”

“Skype rejected the charge in a comment issued to the website Extremetech, saying the restructure was an upgrade and had nothing to do with surveillance,” Gallagher wrote at the time, “But when I repeatedly questioned the company on Wednesday whether it could currently facilitate wiretap requests, a clear answer was not forthcoming. Citing ‘company policy,’ Skype PR man Chaim Haas wouldn’t confirm or deny, telling me only that the chat service ‘co-operates with law enforcement agencies as much as is legally and technically possible.’”

This week, Gallagher revisited the issue and explained how Microsoft’s explanation last year is now under fire thanks to NSA leak. Gallagher recalled that Microsoft was driven to releasing a transparency report last year, in which a significant chunk was set aside solely for details on settling requests for Skype data made by law enforcement.

“The report devoted an entire section to Skype and claimed that in 2012, it hadn’t handed any communications content over to authorities anywhere in the world. Microsoft also said in notes accompanying the transparency report that calls made between Skype-Skype users were encrypted peer-to-peer, implying that they did not pass through Microsoft’s central servers and could not be eavesdropped on — except maybe if the government deployed a spy Trojan on a targeted computer to bypass encryption,” Gallagher wrote.

Now enter the “User’s Guide for PRISM Skype Collection” slide, and the story is much different. “That the NSA claims to be able to grab all Skype users’ communications also calls into question the credibility of Microsoft’s transparency report — particularly the claim that in 2012 it did not once hand over the content of any user communications,” Gallagher wrote. “Moreover, according to a leaked NSA slide published by the Post, Skype first became part of the NSA’s PRISM program in February 2011 — three months before Microsoft purchased the service from U.S. private equity firms Silver Lake and Andreessen Horowitz.”

In a statement emailed from Microsoft to Slate, the company said it “went as far as it was legally able in documenting disclosures in its Law Enforcement Requests Report” and that “there should be greater transparency on national security requests and Microsoft would like the government to take steps to allow companies to do that.”

Microsoft’s statement came the same week that one of their largest competitors, Google, pleaded with the government to let them provide more details in their regular transparency reports published online. In a letter sent to US Attorney General Eric Holder and Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller on Tuesday, Google asked the Obama administration to allow it to share more information.

"Google's numbers would clearly show that our compliance with these requests falls far short of the claims being made," said David Drummond, Google's chief legal officer. "Google has nothing to hide.”

During testimony made Thursday morning before Congress, Mueller said the NSA leaks attributed to Snowden “have caused significant harm to our nation and to our safety” and that the FBI and Justice Department will take “all necessary steps to hold the person responsible.” Meanwhile, US Reps. John Conyers (D-Michigan) and Justin Amash (R-Michigan) plan to propose legislation this week that would require that the government provides “specific and articulable facts” before it requests phone records of US citizens.

http://rt.com/usa/gallagher-nsa-microsoft-skype-653/

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PostSubject: Re: The PRISM Scandal - Feds spying on millions of people   Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:05 pm

Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez said after Congress on Wednesday was given a classified briefing by NSA officials on the agency's previously secret surveillance activities:
Quote :
What we learned in there is significantly more than what is out in the media today. . . . I can't speak to what we learned in there, and I don't know if there are other leaks, if there's more information somewhere, if somebody else is going to step up, but I will tell you that I believe it's the tip of the iceberg . . . . I think it's just broader than most people even realize, and I think that's, in one way, what astounded most of us, too.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/14/nsa-partisanship-propaganda-prism

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PostSubject: Re: The PRISM Scandal - Feds spying on millions of people   Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:35 pm

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somedumbjerk

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PostSubject: Re: The PRISM Scandal - Feds spying on millions of people   Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:42 am

if you guys want to partake in some of the protesting that's happening, here is one way to do it.
http://www.anyothername.de/space/cp/19echln/trigger.html
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PostSubject: Re: The PRISM Scandal - Feds spying on millions of people   Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:12 am

Cardinal Richelieu (1582-1645) wrote:
Give me six lines written by the most honorable of men, and I will find an excuse in them to hang him.

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PostSubject: Re: The PRISM Scandal - Feds spying on millions of people   Wed Jun 19, 2013 5:46 pm

Just think with the new XBOX ONE with it's manditory online connection and and the Kinect having to be connected or else it won't run and the microphone that is always on. Lots of parents will be putting a heart beat sensing camera and microphone right in their living room. No way is big brother going to take advantage of this.
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