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  • Eavesdropping on everybody

    http://www.wired.com/news/technology...?tw=wn_index_1

    Originally posted by Wired
    AT&T provided National Security Agency eavesdroppers with full access to its customers' phone calls, and shunted its customers' internet traffic to data-mining equipment installed in a secret room in its San Francisco switching center, according to a former AT&T worker cooperating in the Electronic Frontier Foundation's lawsuit against the company.
    In game handle: Steel Scion
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  • #2
    Re: Eavesdropping on everybody

    Not surprising at all, after we all witnessed the Bush administration's public acknowledgement of the president authorizing the use of warrantless wiretapping. This story only provides some technical details - otherwise just another chapter in story of how a republican-controlled Congress refuses to hold a republican president accountable for anything in a "time of war."

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    • #3
      Re: Eavesdropping on everybody

      What's not surprising is that you don't waste a breath on someone illegally revealing top secret national security matters to the press when it suits your political ends, and yet never fail to moan about it when poor Ms Plame, secret agent lady, comes up.

      These claims demonstrate that the government has established the ability to eavesdrop and we've known about Echelon for years. What's new about this?

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      • #4
        Re: Eavesdropping on everybody

        Spun counter-clockwise: the President takes serious issue with someone leaking details of his illegal activity to the NYT, claiming it endangers national security, but has no problem releasing classified NIE information to the press so long as it serves to discredit a political liability. So let's leave the issue of "leaks" off the table for a moment, as we're not going to get anywhere on that.

        To the point, the government is clandestinely setting up an infrastructure to monitor all communications in the United States, including yours. Are you happy with that?
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        • #5
          Re: Eavesdropping on everybody

          Originally posted by leejo
          What's not surprising is that you don't waste a breath on someone illegally revealing top secret national security matters to the press when it suits your political ends, and yet never fail to moan about it when poor Ms Plame, secret agent lady, comes up.

          These claims demonstrate that the government has established the ability to eavesdrop and we've known about Echelon for years. What's new about this?
          What's new about this is that, uh, er...

          Yeah there's not much new :D

          It certainly looks bad, though. If you have a sub-50% approval rating and it turns out you have access to just about every communication in the country plus some international stuff (this isn't just AT&T comms; anything that passes through one of their wires can be tapped) people get mad.

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          • #6
            Re: Eavesdropping on everybody

            The wiretapping stuff doesn't bother me as much as the technical side of it is cool! Being able to monitor an OC-192.. whew!

            Can't lay the full blame of this on Bush.. Anyone remember Carnivore?
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            • #7
              Re: Eavesdropping on everybody

              Originally posted by Steeler
              To the point, the government is clandestinely setting up an infrastructure to monitor all communications in the United States, including yours. Are you happy with that?
              Replace communications with telecommunications.

              I'm pretty this infrastructure has been the case since the proliferation of the telephone and has been upgraded over the years along with the telecommunications infrastructure itself. I wouldn't call it a clandestine operation, either. I think it's been well known for a long time that telecommunications can be centrally monitored.

              The real question is how is the system used and is it being used responsibly within the law. Good luck finding the answer, though :(.

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              • #8
                Re: Eavesdropping on everybody

                Originally posted by leejo
                What's not surprising is that you don't waste a breath on someone illegally revealing top secret national security matters to the press when it suits your political ends, and yet never fail to moan about it when poor Ms Plame, secret agent lady, comes up.
                Either I'm failing to represent my viewpoints here or you are failing to correctly interpret them. I'll assume the former, therefore I'll re-iterate my viewpoints on both of these matters. My interest in both of these cases has nothing to do with my political views - my opinion would remain unchanged regardless of political alignment.

                I've already stated that my interest in the Plame 'leak' is not the leak itself, but the practice of 'intelligence sharing' with the press in the name of pushing a political agenda. It happens all the time, but this case is interesting because if you read between the lines, it pretty clearly exposes how the Bush White House uses these tools. If you call that moaning, you must have a different definition of the word than I do.

                Leaks happen for a reason. Plame's name was dropped - perhaps by accident - because Bush needed to discredit her husband's activities which he believed were politically motivated and therefore inflamatory. Either way, the entire affair seems relatively harmless to me because, depsite what some say, Plame was never in danger as a result of being exposed, and the White House wasn't really doing anything new, or illegal for that matter.

                In the case of leaking the details of Bush's domestic spying program (which is exactly what it is) - this is a leak that inevitably had to happen because the American public (including the other branches of their own government) deserves to know about it. If you'd read earlier posts of mine you would know that my opinion on this has less to do with the legality of Bush's actions and more to do with the concept of performing this vital aspect of security in a fair and constitutional manner - i.e. the right to privacy.

                This has nothing to do with partisan politics because the White House duped all sides here.

                It is a matter of public record that the Bush White House - Cheney and Rove in particular - believes that too much power has eroded from the executive branch of American government and they intend to restore some of this power. In their view, security operations such as this need to be handled by as little oversight and paperwork as possible - conducted in near complete secrecy. This is where I disagree. This policy wasn't made out of necessity - it was made out of haste and contempt for federal oversight. It is lazy and simple-minded to think that only guilty parties will fall prey to this wiretapping, and that down the road (if not already) the practice will be not abused. This matter should have been put into law properly, and under Congressional, and therefore public, oversight.

                Wiretapping is necessary part of security, and notifying a person that they are being wiretapped defeats the purpose of wiretapping. However, this does not mean that the mechanisms and protections of such a program need to be kept secret - citizens have a right to know how the system works, and what legal protections they have available to them should they come under such surveillance. The government (congress and the president) should take the time and effort to ensure that both of these concepts are upheld. It is a matter of simple fairness and respect for the checks and balances built into American government.

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                • #9
                  Re: Eavesdropping on everybody

                  This is what I wonder.

                  If I choose to use encryption to do my email, VOIP ect (and this is not illegal as far as I know) are my messages flagged/routed to some super computer that can decrypt them?

                  And does this put a little flag by my name so that the NSA/FBI/CIA whatever can further investigate me?*

                  If that isn't happening then what is the point? I am sure most of the terrorists (or put your favorite crime here) are using encryption. All the really good info would be in those encrypted messages.

                  There is also the all those zombie programs. I am sure some of the terrorist are using those things to send info from many inocent computers. But how does the NSA know they are inocent? Do they assume them guilty and investigate grandma (or you or me) because some terrorist hijacked a computer?

                  And does NSA ect install it's own little programm onto said computer to find out who hijacked it? Do they scan all the files to make sure the hijackers are not storing bits of usefull information?

                  May sound crazy but if I was an employee of NSA and the president told me to "do what it takes" I would find all that very logical and even necessary.


                  *Edit. I say this because decrypting these messages, while possible, whould take a fair amount of time, energy and money. The powers that be wouldn't want to waste that on innocent emails to the grandkids and doing some simple background checks would cost much less then the actual decryption.
                  Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
                  - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
                  - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
                  - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
                  - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
                  - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
                  - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

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                  • #10
                    Re: Eavesdropping on everybody

                    Sounds like big brother to mee friends ...

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                    • #11
                      Re: Eavesdropping on everybody

                      Originally posted by El_Gringo_Grande
                      If I choose to use encryption to do my email, VOIP ect (and this is not illegal as far as I know) are my messages flagged/routed to some super computer that can decrypt them?
                      No, I think the NSA and other intelligence agencies have or will soon give up on the idea of restricting access to encryption methods which they can't readily break. The cat's out of the bag and if you really want to have secure communications you pretty much can especially if they are just fishing and not looking at you specifically.

                      Originally posted by El_Gringo_Grande
                      And does this put a little flag by my name so that the NSA/FBI/CIA whatever can further investigate me?
                      That's a good question. Does sending encrypted data make you suspect? This would be hard because I think they would really only be able to identify encrypted traffic that identified itself as such because the terrorists could just embed their encrypted messages in what appears to be a bittorrent packet. So I think this would be a losing battle for technical reasons. However, history tells us that this doesn't necessarily mean they aren't trying it anyways.

                      Originally posted by El_Gringo_Grande
                      If that isn't happening then what is the point? I am sure most of the terrorists (or put your favorite crime here) are using encryption. All the really good info would be in those encrypted messages.
                      Indeed.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Eavesdropping on everybody

                        I have no doubt that they can easily and quickly crack any method of commercial encryption that you or I are able to lay hands on, and probably in real time.

                        There are too many flaws inherent in our current encryption methods, even if a system existed that had no flaws they would just brute force it in a matter of minutes with their massive computing power.

                        Thats the sort of brute force you get when you spend a couple trillion of dollars on a hundred acres of supercomputers.

                        Don't get too comfortable with your encryption method, it has probably already fallen, or had a NSA backdoor built into it from the beginning.

                        I haven't heard about them complaining that powerful encryption is too easily available to civilians lately, have you?
                        Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter.
                        Ernest Hemingway, "On the Blue Water," Esquire, April 1936

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                        • #13
                          Re: Eavesdropping on everybody

                          Yeah, there was a stink about that back in 2000 or so, but encryption has been off the mainstream radar for a while.
                          In game handle: Steel Scion
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                          • #14
                            Re: Eavesdropping on everybody

                            Originally posted by Steeler
                            Yeah, there was a stink about that back in 2000 or so, but encryption has been off the mainstream radar for a while.
                            I think it's been off the radar because it still works, and the government has still failed to curtail it, or secure widespread use of a government 'approved' encryption scheme for which they hold the key. Fascinating subject, classic case of power to the people.

                            At issue with the domestic spying case here is specifically telephone calls, which are not encrypted, and are easy to intercept.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Eavesdropping on everybody

                              There are voice encryption devices available. Don't know if any of the bad guys are using them or if they are effective, but could be.

                              http://www.copytele.com/encryption.html
                              Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
                              - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
                              - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
                              - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
                              - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
                              - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
                              - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

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