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[May 05, 2017] William Binney - The Government is Profiling You (The NSA is Spying on You)

Very interesting discussion of how the project of mass surveillance of internet traffic started and what were the major challenges. that's probably where the idea of collecting "envelopes" and correlating them to create social network. Similar to what was done in civil War.
The idea to prevent corruption of medical establishment to prevent Medicare fraud is very interesting.
Notable quotes:
"... I suspect that it's hopelessly unlikely for honest people to complete the Police Academy; somewhere early on the good cops are weeded out and cannot complete training unless they compromise their integrity. ..."
"... 500 Years of History Shows that Mass Spying Is Always Aimed at Crushing Dissent It's Never to Protect Us From Bad Guys No matter which government conducts mass surveillance, they also do it to crush dissent, and then give a false rationale for why they're doing it. ..."
"... People are so worried about NSA don't be fooled that private companies are doing the same thing. ..."
"... In communism the people learned quick they were being watched. The reaction was not to go to protest. ..."
"... Just not be productive and work the system and not listen to their crap. this is all that was required to bring them down. watching people, arresting does not do shit for their cause ..."
Apr 20, 2017 | www.youtube.com
Chad 2 years ago

"People who believe in these rights very much are forced into compromising their integrity"

I suspect that it's hopelessly unlikely for honest people to complete the Police Academy; somewhere early on the good cops are weeded out and cannot complete training unless they compromise their integrity.

Agent76 1 year ago (edited)
January 9, 2014

500 Years of History Shows that Mass Spying Is Always Aimed at Crushing Dissent It's Never to Protect Us From Bad Guys No matter which government conducts mass surveillance, they also do it to crush dissent, and then give a false rationale for why they're doing it.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/01/government-spying-citizens-always-focuses-crushing-dissent-keeping-us-safe.html

Homa Monfared 7 months ago

I am wondering how much damage your spying did to the Foreign Countries, I am wondering how you changed regimes around the world, how many refugees you helped to create around the world.

Don Kantner, 2 weeks ago

People are so worried about NSA don't be fooled that private companies are doing the same thing. Plus, the truth is if the NSA wasn't watching any fool with a computer could potentially cause an worldwide economic crisis.

Bettor in Vegas 1 year ago

In communism the people learned quick they were being watched. The reaction was not to go to protest.

Just not be productive and work the system and not listen to their crap. this is all that was required to bring them down. watching people, arresting does not do shit for their cause......

[May 01, 2017] Google is the largest private spying agency: Is It Time to Break Up Google?

Yes. Next question? And for those who might have missed this Matt Stoller piece read it now. The evidence is piling up - Silicon Valley is being destroyed Business Insider
Notable quotes:
"... It is impossible to deny that Facebook, Google and Amazon have stymied innovation on a broad scale. To begin with, the platforms of Google and Facebook are the point of access to all media for the majority of Americans. ..."
"... According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, newspaper publishers lost over half their employees between 2001 and 2016. Billions of dollars have been reallocated from creators of content to owners of monopoly platforms. ..."
"... In 2015 two Obama economic advisers, Peter Orszag and Jason Furman, published a paper arguing that the rise in "supernormal returns on capital" at firms with limited competition is leading to a rise in economic inequality. ..."
"... There are a few obvious regulations to start with. Monopoly is made by acquisition - Google buying AdMob and DoubleClick, Facebook buying Instagram and WhatsApp, Amazon buying, to name just a few, Audible, Twitch, Zappos and Alexa. At a minimum, these companies should not be allowed to acquire other major firms, like Spotify or Snapchat. ..."
"... The second alternative is to regulate a company like Google as a public utility, requiring it to license out patents, for a nominal fee, for its search algorithms, advertising exchanges and other key innovations. ..."
"... Removing the safe harbor provision would also force social networks to pay for the content posted on their sites. A simple example: One million downloads of a song on iTunes would yield the performer and his record label about $900,000. One million streams of that same song on YouTube would earn them about $900. ..."
"... Woodrow Wilson was right when he said in 1913, "If monopoly persists, monopoly will always sit at the helm of the government." We ignore his words at our peril. ..."
Apr 27, 2017 | www.nytimes.com

Is It Time to Break Up Google? by JONATHAN TAPLIN

In just 10 years, the world's five largest companies by market capitalization have all changed, save for one: Microsoft. Exxon Mobil, General Electric, Citigroup and Shell Oil are out and Apple, Alphabet (the parent company of Google), Amazon and Facebook have taken their place.

They're all tech companies, and each dominates its corner of the industry: Google has an 88 percent market share in search advertising, Facebook (and its subsidiaries Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger) owns 77 percent of mobile social traffic and Amazon has a 74 percent share in the e-book market. In classic economic terms, all three are monopolies.

We have been transported back to the early 20th century, when arguments about "the curse of bigness" were advanced by President Woodrow Wilson's counselor, Louis Brandeis, before Wilson appointed him to the Supreme Court. Brandeis wanted to eliminate monopolies, because (in the words of his biographer Melvin Urofsky) "in a democratic society the existence of large centers of private power is dangerous to the continuing vitality of a free people." We need look no further than the conduct of the largest banks in the 2008 financial crisis or the role that Facebook and Google play in the "fake news" business to know that Brandeis was right.

While Brandeis generally opposed regulation - which, he worried, inevitably led to the corruption of the regulator - and instead advocated breaking up "bigness," he made an exception for "natural" monopolies, like telephone, water and power companies and railroads, where it made sense to have one or a few companies in control of an industry.

DenisPombriant
April 26, 2017
You don't need to look as far back as Brandise or as far forward as Google to see the pernicious effects of monopoly. Just look at airlines...

fortress
April 26, 2017
I have no awareness of how google harms me, I use Bing for searches, and yes they are an octopus, but with efficiencies of scale that...

SR
April 26, 2017
"True, the internet never had the same problems of interoperability."...but not for want of trying. The old Microsoft Network-MSN-was a...

Could it be that these companies - and Google in particular - have become natural monopolies by supplying an entire market's demand for a service, at a price lower than what would be offered by two competing firms? And if so, is it time to regulate them like public utilities?

Consider a historical analogy: the early days of telecommunications.

In 1895 a photograph of the business district of a large city might have shown 20 phone wires attached to most buildings. Each wire was owned by a different phone company, and none of them worked with the others. Without network effects, the networks themselves were almost useless.

The solution was for a single company, American Telephone and Telegraph, to consolidate the industry by buying up all the small operators and creating a single network - a natural monopoly. The government permitted it, but then regulated this monopoly through the Federal Communications Commission.

AT&T (also known as the Bell System) had its rates regulated, and was required to spend a fixed percentage of its profits on research and development. In 1925 AT&T set up Bell Labs as a separate subsidiary with the mandate to develop the next generation of communications technology, but also to do basic research in physics and other sciences. Over the next 50 years, the basics of the digital age - the transistor, the microchip, the solar cell, the microwave, the laser, cellular telephony - all came out of Bell Labs, along with eight Nobel Prizes.

In a 1956 consent decree in which the Justice Department allowed AT&T to maintain its phone monopoly, the government extracted a huge concession: All past patents were licensed (to any American company) royalty-free, and all future patents were to be licensed for a small fee. These licenses led to the creation of Texas Instruments, Motorola, Fairchild Semiconductor and many other start-ups.

Changes at the Top

The five largest companies in 2006

    Exxon Mobil $540 General Electric 463 Microsoft 355 Citigroup 331 Bank of America 290


BILLION MARKET CAP


and now

    Apple $794 Alphabet (Google) 593 Microsoft 506 Amazon 429 Facebook 414

All figures in 2017 dollars; 2017 companies as of April 20. Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices By The New York Times

True, the internet never had the same problems of interoperability. And Google's route to dominance is different from the Bell System's. Nevertheless it still has all of the characteristics of a public utility.

We are going to have to decide fairly soon whether Google, Facebook and Amazon are the kinds of natural monopolies that need to be regulated, or whether we allow the status quo to continue, pretending that unfettered monoliths don't inflict damage on our privacy and democracy.

It is impossible to deny that Facebook, Google and Amazon have stymied innovation on a broad scale. To begin with, the platforms of Google and Facebook are the point of access to all media for the majority of Americans. While profits at Google, Facebook and Amazon have soared, revenues in media businesses like newspaper publishing or the music business have, since 2001, fallen by 70 percent.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, newspaper publishers lost over half their employees between 2001 and 2016. Billions of dollars have been reallocated from creators of content to owners of monopoly platforms. All content creators dependent on advertising must negotiate with Google or Facebook as aggregator, the sole lifeline between themselves and the vast internet cloud.

It's not just newspapers that are hurting. In 2015 two Obama economic advisers, Peter Orszag and Jason Furman, published a paper arguing that the rise in "supernormal returns on capital" at firms with limited competition is leading to a rise in economic inequality. The M.I.T. economists Scott Stern and Jorge Guzman explained that in the presence of these giant firms, "it has become increasingly advantageous to be an incumbent, and less advantageous to be a new entrant."

There are a few obvious regulations to start with. Monopoly is made by acquisition - Google buying AdMob and DoubleClick, Facebook buying Instagram and WhatsApp, Amazon buying, to name just a few, Audible, Twitch, Zappos and Alexa. At a minimum, these companies should not be allowed to acquire other major firms, like Spotify or Snapchat.

The second alternative is to regulate a company like Google as a public utility, requiring it to license out patents, for a nominal fee, for its search algorithms, advertising exchanges and other key innovations.

The third alternative is to remove the "safe harbor" clause in the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which allows companies like Facebook and Google's YouTube to free ride on the content produced by others. The reason there are 40,000 Islamic State videos on YouTube, many with ads that yield revenue for those who posted them, is that YouTube does not have to take responsibility for the content on its network. Facebook, Google and Twitter claim that policing their networks would be too onerous. But that's preposterous: They already police their networks for pornography, and quite well.

Removing the safe harbor provision would also force social networks to pay for the content posted on their sites. A simple example: One million downloads of a song on iTunes would yield the performer and his record label about $900,000. One million streams of that same song on YouTube would earn them about $900.

I'm under no delusion that, with libertarian tech moguls like Peter Thiel in President Trump's inner circle, antitrust regulation of the internet monopolies will be a priority. Ultimately we may have to wait four years, at which time the monopolies will be so dominant that the only remedy will be to break them up. Force Google to sell DoubleClick. Force Facebook to sell WhatsApp and Instagram.

Woodrow Wilson was right when he said in 1913, "If monopoly persists, monopoly will always sit at the helm of the government." We ignore his words at our peril.

[Apr 28, 2017] Does your web browser have a unique fingerprint?

Apr 28, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Linda , April 26, 2017 at 3:01 pm

"Does your web browser have a unique fingerprint? If so your web browser could be tracked across websites without techniques such as tracking cookies. Additionally the anonymisation aspects of services such as Tor or VPNs could be negated if websites you visit track you using your browser fingerprint. This service is designed to test how unique your web browser's fingerprint is, and hence how identifiable your browser is" [ BrowserPrint ].

News of the Wired.

Your browser fingerprint appears to be unique among the 29,948 tested so far.

Currently, we estimate that your browser has a fingerprint that conveys 14.87 bits of identifying information.

Lambert Strether Post author , April 27, 2017 at 5:51 am

Congratulations!

Adding:

Your browser fingerprint appears to be unique among the 31,767 tested so far.

Currently, we estimate that your browser has a fingerprint that conveys 14.96 bits of identifying information.

[Apr 26, 2017] Is It Time to Break Up Google

Amazon, Facebook and Google are dangerous because of their unique surveillance capabilities. Apple is in the same league. Apple phone are always "the target." fro spyware authors.
Notable quotes:
"... Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTopinion) , and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter . ..."
Apr 26, 2017 | www.nytimes.com

In just 10 years, the world's five largest companies by market capitalization have all changed, save for one: Microsoft. Exxon Mobil, General Electric, Citigroup and Shell Oil are out and Apple, Alphabet (the parent company of Google), Amazon and Facebook have taken their place.

They're all tech companies, and each dominates its corner of the industry: Google has an 88 percent market share in search advertising, Facebook (and its subsidiaries Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger) owns 77 percent of mobile social traffic and Amazon has a 74 percent share in the e-book market. In classic economic terms, all three are monopolies.

We have been transported back to the early 20th century, when arguments about "the curse of bigness" were advanced by President Woodrow Wilson's counselor, Louis Brandeis, before Wilson appointed him to the Supreme Court. Brandeis wanted to eliminate monopolies, because (in the words of his biographer Melvin Urofsky) "in a democratic society the existence of large centers of private power is dangerous to the continuing vitality of a free people." We need look no further than the conduct of the largest banks in the 2008 financial crisis or the role that Facebook and Google play in the "fake news" business to know that Brandeis was right.

While Brandeis generally opposed regulation - which, he worried, inevitably led to the corruption of the regulator - and instead advocated breaking up "bigness," he made an exception for "natural" monopolies, like telephone, water and power companies and railroads, where it made sense to have one or a few companies in control of an industry.

Continue reading the main story Advertisement Continue reading the main story

Could it be that these companies - and Google in particular - have become natural monopolies by supplying an entire market's demand for a service, at a price lower than what would be offered by two competing firms? And if so, is it time to regulate them like public utilities?

Consider a historical analogy: the early days of telecommunications.

In 1895 a photograph of the business district of a large city might have shown 20 phone wires attached to most buildings. Each wire was owned by a different phone company, and none of them worked with the others. Without network effects, the networks themselves were almost useless.

The solution was for a single company, American Telephone and Telegraph, to consolidate the industry by buying up all the small operators and creating a single network - a natural monopoly. The government permitted it, but then regulated this monopoly through the Federal Communications Commission.

AT&T (also known as the Bell System) had its rates regulated, and was required to spend a fixed percentage of its profits on research and development. In 1925 AT&T set up Bell Labs as a separate subsidiary with the mandate to develop the next generation of communications technology, but also to do basic research in physics and other sciences. Over the next 50 years, the basics of the digital age - the transistor, the microchip, the solar cell, the microwave, the laser, cellular telephony - all came out of Bell Labs, along with eight Nobel Prizes .

Advertisement Continue reading the main story

In a 1956 consent decree in which the Justice Department allowed AT&T to maintain its phone monopoly, the government extracted a huge concession: All past patents were licensed (to any American company) royalty-free, and all future patents were to be licensed for a small fee. These licenses led to the creation of Texas Instruments, Motorola, Fairchild Semiconductor and many other start-ups.

Changes at the Top

The five largest companies in 2006

Exxon Mobil

General Electric

Microsoft

Citigroup

Bank of America

$540

463

355

331

290

1

2

3

4

5

BILLION MARKET CAP

and now

Apple

Alphabet (Google)

Microsoft

Amazon

Facebook

$794

593

506

429

414

1

2

3

4

5 All figures in 2017 dollars; 2017 companies as of April 20. Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices

APRIL 22, 2017

By The New York Times

True, the internet never had the same problems of interoperability. And Google's route to dominance is different from the Bell System's. Nevertheless it still has all of the characteristics of a public utility.

Advertisement Continue reading the main story

We are going to have to decide fairly soon whether Google, Facebook and Amazon are the kinds of natural monopolies that need to be regulated, or whether we allow the status quo to continue, pretending that unfettered monoliths don't inflict damage on our privacy and democracy.

It is impossible to deny that Facebook, Google and Amazon have stymied innovation on a broad scale. To begin with, the platforms of Google and Facebook are the point of access to all media for the majority of Americans. While profits at Google, Facebook and Amazon have soared, revenues in media businesses like newspaper publishing or the music business have, since 2001, fallen by 70 percent.

Opinion Today

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, newspaper publishers lost over half their employees between 2001 and 2016. Billions of dollars have been reallocated from creators of content to owners of monopoly platforms. All content creators dependent on advertising must negotiate with Google or Facebook as aggregator, the sole lifeline between themselves and the vast internet cloud.

It's not just newspapers that are hurting. In 2015 two Obama economic advisers, Peter Orszag and Jason Furman, published a paper arguing that the rise in "supernormal returns on capital" at firms with limited competition is leading to a rise in economic inequality. The M.I.T. economists Scott Stern and Jorge Guzman explained that in the presence of these giant firms, "it has become increasingly advantageous to be an incumbent, and less advantageous to be a new entrant."

Advertisement Continue reading the main story

There are a few obvious regulations to start with. Monopoly is made by acquisition - Google buying AdMob and DoubleClick, Facebook buying Instagram and WhatsApp, Amazon buying, to name just a few, Audible, Twitch, Zappos and Alexa. At a minimum, these companies should not be allowed to acquire other major firms, like Spotify or Snapchat.

Advertisement Continue reading the main story

The second alternative is to regulate a company like Google as a public utility, requiring it to license out patents, for a nominal fee, for its search algorithms, advertising exchanges and other key innovations.

The third alternative is to remove the "safe harbor" clause in the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which allows companies like Facebook and Google's YouTube to free ride on the content produced by others. The reason there are 40,000 Islamic State videos on YouTube, many with ads that yield revenue for those who posted them, is that YouTube does not have to take responsibility for the content on its network. Facebook, Google and Twitter claim that policing their networks would be too onerous. But that's preposterous: They already police their networks for pornography, and quite well.

Advertisement Continue reading the main story

Removing the safe harbor provision would also force social networks to pay for the content posted on their sites. A simple example: One million downloads of a song on iTunes would yield the performer and his record label about $900,000. One million streams of that same song on YouTube would earn them about $900.

I'm under no delusion that, with libertarian tech moguls like Peter Thiel in President Trump's inner circle, antitrust regulation of the internet monopolies will be a priority. Ultimately we may have to wait four years, at which time the monopolies will be so dominant that the only remedy will be to break them up. Force Google to sell DoubleClick. Force Facebook to sell WhatsApp and Instagram.

Woodrow Wilson was right when he said in 1913, "If monopoly persists, monopoly will always sit at the helm of the government." We ignore his words at our peril.

Jonathan Taplin is the director emeritus of the University of Southern California's Annenberg Innovation Lab and the author of "Move Fast and Break Things: How Google, Facebook and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy." Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTopinion) , and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter .

A version of this op-ed appears in print on April 23, 2017, on Page SR4 of the New York edition with the headline: Is It Time to Break Up Google?. Today's Paper | Subscribe Continue

[Apr 21, 2017] Americas Cyberwar Hypocrisy

Apr 21, 2017 | www.foreignaffairs.com

Today's cyberbattles could almost make one nostalgic for the Cold War . The nuclear arms race created a sense of existential threat, but at least it was clear who had the weapons. In contrast, a cyberattack could be the work of almost anyone. After hackers broke into the U.S. Democratic National Committee's servers in 2016 and released e-mails embarrassing to the DNC's leadership, the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said the attacker could be China, Russia, or "somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds."

U.S. intelligence officials have said that the attack did indeed come from Russia , which Trump later acknowledged . But Trump's comment underscored a larger problem with cyberwarfare: uncertainty. How does a government respond to an invisible attacker, especially without clear rules of engagement? How can officials convince other governments and the public that they have fingered the right suspects? How can a state prevent cyberattacks when without attribution, the logic of deterrence-if you hit me, I'll hit you back-no longer applies? Two recent books delve into these questions. Dark Territory , by Fred Kaplan, and The Hacked World Order , by Adam Segal, lay out the history of cybersecurity in the United States and explain the dangers that future digital conflicts might pose. Both authors also make clear that although Americans and U.S. institutions increasingly feel themselves to be in the cross hairs of hackers and other cybercriminals, the United States is itself a powerful aggressor in cyberspace.

In 2014 alone, the United States suffered more than 80,000 cybersecurity breaches.

In the future, the United States must use its cyberpower judiciously. Every conflict poses the risk that one party will make a mistake or overreact, causing things to veer out of control. When it comes to cyberwar, however, the stakes are particularly high for the United States, as the country's technological sophistication makes it uniquely vulnerable to attack.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility, April 2008.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility, April 2008.

CYBER-SUPERPOWER

The dramatic headlines surrounding Russia's alleged hacking of the DNC and attempts to spread misinformation online during the U.S. election may have reinforced the perception among Americans that the United States is primarily a victim of cyber-intrusions. It's not. In Dark Territory , Kaplan details the United States' long history of aggression in cyberspace. It's not easy to write an engaging book on cyberwar, and Kaplan, a national security columnist at Slate , has done an admirable job. He presents a clear account of the United States' evolution into a formidable cyberpower, guiding the reader through a thicket of technical details and government acronyms.

It turns out that the U.S. govern ment has been an aggressor for over a quarter century. Kaplan describes "counter command-control warfare"-attempts to disrupt an enemy's ability to control its forces-that goes back to the Gulf War in 1990–91. At a time when U.S. President George H. W. Bush had never used a computer, the National Security Agency (NSA) was employing a secret satellite to monitor the conversations of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his generals, which sometimes revealed the positions of Iraqi soldiers.

The United States flexed its digital muscles again in the late 1990s, when Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina were protesting the presence of NATO soldiers enforcing the 1995 Dayton peace agreement, which had ended the Bosnian war. U.S. officials learned that local newscasters were telling protesters when and where to gather and even instructing them to throw rocks at NATO soldiers. It turned out that 85 percent of Serbs got their television broadcasts from just five transmission towers. U.S. officials, working with the NATO-led stabilization force, or SFOR, installed devices on those five transmitters that allowed SFOR engineers to turn them on and off remotely. Whenever a newscaster began urging people to protest, the engineers shut off the transmitters.

American officials also enlisted the help of Hollywood producers, persuading them to supply programming to a U.S. -aligned Serbian station. During major anti-NATO protests, Serbians would turn on the television to find the channel playing episodes of Baywatch . Kaplan asserts, "Many Serbs, who might otherwise have hit the streets to make trouble , stayed in to watch young women cavorting in bikinis."

Around a decade later, the United States set up what Kaplan calls a "mini -NSA" in Iraq. Kaplan describes how NSA teams in the Middle East intercepted insurgents' e-mails and shut down many of their servers with malware. In other cases, they sent insurgents deceptive e-mails directing them to places where U.S. Special Forces would be waiting to kill them. "In 2007 alone, these sorts of operations . . . killed nearly four thousand Iraqi insurgents," Kaplan writes.

The United States will likely not win social media wars against countries such as China or Russia.

The United States' most ambitious cyberattack began in 2006, when it teamed up with Israel to sabotage the Iranian nuclear program. The collab oration, dubbed Operation Olympic Games, targeted Iran's Natanz reactor, which relied on remote computer controls . Malware designed by American pro grammers took over the reactor's valve pumps, allowing NSA operatives to remotely increase the flow of uranium gas into the centrifuges, which eventually burst. By early 2010, the operation had destroyed almost a quarter of Iran's 8,700 centrifuges.

For years, the Iranians failed to detect the intrusion and must have wondered if the malfunctions were their own fault. In that sense, Kaplan writes, "Operation Olympic Games was a classic campaign of information warfare : the target wasn't just the Iranians' nuclear program but also the Iranians' confidence-in their sensors, their equipment, and themselves." The Iranians and the wider public might never have learned about the virus, now widely known as Stuxnet, if it had not accidentally spread from the computers in Natanz to machines in other parts of the world, where private-sector security researchers ultimately discovered it.

With Olympic Games, the United States "crossed the Rubicon," in the words of the former CIA director Michael Hayden. Stuxnet was the first major piece of malware to do more than harm other computers and actually cause physical destruction. The irony was rich, as Kaplan notes: "For more than a decade, dozens of panels and commissions had warned that America's critical infrastructure was vulnerable to a cyber attack-and now America was launching the first cyber attack on another nation's critical infrastructure."

Of course, cyberattackers have often targeted the United States. In 2014 alone, Kaplan reports, the country suffered more than 80,000 cybersecurity breaches, more than 2,000 of which led to data losses. He also points out that until recently, U.S. policymakers worried less about Russia than China, which was "engaging not just in espionage and battlefield preparation, but also in the theft of trade secrets, intellectual property, and cash."

China and Russia are not the only players. Iran and North Korea have also attacked the United States. In 2014, the businessman Sheldon Adelson criticized Iran, which responded by hacking into the servers of Adelson's Las Vegas Sands Corporation, doing $40 million worth of damage. That same year, hackers calling themselves the Guardians of Peace broke into Sony's network. They destroyed thousands of computers and hundreds of servers, exposed tens of thousands of Social Security numbers, and released embarrassing personal e-mails pilfered from the accounts of Sony executives. U.S. government officials blamed the North Korean government for the attack . Sony Pictures was about to release The Interview , a silly comedy about a plot to assassinate the North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un. As opening day neared, the hackers threatened theaters with retaliation if they screened the movie. When Sony canceled the release, the threats stopped.

EVERYBODY HACKS

The Hacked World Order covers some of the same ground as Dark Territory , although with a slightly wider lens. In addition to discussing cyberattacks and surveillance, Segal, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, details how the United States and other countries use social media for political ends. Russia, for example, tries to shape online discourse by spreading false news and deploying trolls to post offensive or distracting comments. The Russian government has reportedly hired English speakers to praise President Vladimir Putin on the websites of foreign news outlets. The goal is not necessarily to endear Americans to Putin, Segal explains . Rather, it sows confusion online to "make reasonable, rational conversation impossible." Chinese Internet commenters also try to muddy the waters of online discussion. Segal claims that the Chinese government pays an estimated 250,000–300,000 people to support the official Communist Party agenda online.

The public understands cyberthreats far less well than it does the threat of nuclear weapons.

Segal suggests that the United States will likely not win social media wars against countries such as China or Russia . U.S. State Department officials identify themselves on Facebook and Twitter, react slowly to news, and offer factual, rule-based commentary. Unfortunately, as Segal notes, "content that is shocking , conspiratorial, or false often crowds out the reasonable, rational, and measured."

Social media battles also play out in the Middle East. In 2012, the Israel Defense Forces and Hamas fought a war for public opinion using Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest, and Tumblr at the same time as the two were exchanging physical fire. The Islamic State (also known as ISIS) has launched digital campaigns that incorporate, in Segal's words, "brutality and barbarism, packaged with sophisticated production techniques ." The United States has tried to fight back by sharing negative stories about ISIS and, in 2014, even created a video, using footage released by the group , that featured severed heads and cruci fixions. The video went viral, but analysts inside and outside the U.S. government criticized it for embracing extremist tactics similar to ISIS' own. Moreover, as Segal notes, it seems to have failed to deter ISIS' supporters.

Part of what makes the cyber-era so challenging for governments is that conflict isn't limited to states. Many actors, including individuals and small groups, can carry out attacks. In 2011, for example, the hacker collective Anon ymous took down Sony's PlayStation Network, costing the company $171 million in repairs. Individuals can also disrupt traditional diplomacy, as when WikiLeaks released thousands of State Department cables in 2010, revealing U.S. diplomats' candid and sometimes embarrassing assessments of their foreign counterparts.

Segal is at his best in his discussion of China's cyberstrategy, on which he has considerable expertise. Americans tend to see themselves as a target of Chinese hackers-and indeed they are. The problem is that China also sees itself as a victim and the United States as hypocritical. In June 2013, U.S. President Barack Obama warned Chinese President Xi Jinping that Chinese hacking could damage the U.S.-Chinese relationship. Later that month, journalists published documents provided by Edward Snowden, an NSA contractor, showing that the NSA had hacked Chinese universities and telecommunications companies. It didn't take long for Chinese state media to brand the United States as "the real hacking empire."

The U.S.-Chinese relationship also suffers from a more fundamental disagreement. U.S. policymakers seem to believe that it's acceptable to spy for political and military purposes but that China's theft of intellectual property crosses a line. The United States might spy on companies and trade negotiators all over the world, but it does so to protect its national interests, not to benefit specific U.S. companies. The Chinese don't see this distinction. As Segal explains:

Many states, especially those like China that have developed a form of state capitalism at home, do not see a difference between public and private actors. Chinese firms are part of an effort to modernize the country and build comprehensive power, no matter whether they are private or state owned. Stealing for their benefit is for the benefit of the nation.

The intense secrecy surrounding cyberwarfare makes deciding what kinds of hacking are acceptable and what behavior crosses the line even harder. The Snowden revelations may have alerted Americans to the extent of U.S. government surveillance, but the public still remains largely in the dark about digital conflict. Yet Americans have a lot at stake. The United States may be the world's strongest cyberpower, but it is also the most vulnerable. Segal writes:

The United States is . . . more exposed than any other country. Smart cities, the Internet of Things, and self-driving cars may open up vast new economic opportunities as well as new targets for destructive attacks. Cyberattacks could disrupt and degrade the American way of war, heavily dependent as it is on sensors, computers, command and control, and information dominance.

Putin and Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov visit the new GRU military intelligence headquarters building in Moscow, November 2006.

Putin and Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov visit the new GRU military intelligence headquarters building in Moscow, November 2006.

FOREWARNED IS FOREARMED

Neither Kaplan nor Segal offers easy solutions to these challenges. Kaplan argues that the cyber-era is much murkier than the era of the Cold War. Officials find it difficult to trace attack ers quickly and reliably, increasing the chances that the targeted country will make an error. The U.S. government and U.S. firms face cyberattacks every day, and there is no clear line between those that are merely a nuisance and those that pose a serious threat. The public also understands cyberthreats far less well than it does the threat of nuclear weapons. Much of the informa tion is classified, inhibiting public discus sion, Kaplan notes. He concludes that "we are all wandering in dark territory."

The public understands cyberthreats far less well than it does the threat of nuclear weapons.

Segal's conclusions are somewhat more prescriptive. The United States must support research and technological innovation, for example, and not just by providing more federal funding. Segal recommends that the United States replace its federal research plan with a public-private partnership to bring in academic and commercial expertise. Government and private companies need to share more information, and companies need to talk more openly with one another about digital threats. The United States should also "develop a code of conduct that draws a clear line between its friends and allies and its potential adversaries." This would include limiting cyberattacks to military actions and narrowly targeted covert operations, following international law, rarely spying on friends, and working to strengthen international norms against economic espionage. If the United States is attacked, it should not necessarily launch a counterattack, Segal argues; rather, it should explore using sanctions or other tools. This was apparently the path that Obama took after the attack on the DNC, when the United States punished Moscow by imposing fresh sanctions and expelling 35 suspected Russian spies.

It's likely only a matter of time before the Trump administration faces a major cyberattack. When that happens, the government will need to react calmly, without jumping to conclusions. Failure to do so could have dire consequences. "The United States, Russia, and China are unlikely to launch destructive attacks against each other unless they are already engaged in military conflict or perceive core interests as being threatened," Segal writes. "The greatest risks are misperception, miscalculation, and escalation."

Those risks now seem greater than ever. Some experts have argued that Obama's response to the Russian cyberattacks in 2016 did not do enough to deter future attackers. But if Obama underreacted, the United States may now face the opposite problem. Trump has proved willing to make bold, some times unsubstantiated accusations. This behavior is dangerous in any conflict, but in the fog of cyberwar, it could spell catastrophe.

Is there anything the American public can do to prevent this? All over the country, people have been trying to check Trump's worst impulses by protesting, appealing to members of Congress, or simply demanding more information. Policy about cyberspace generally doesn't draw the same level of public engagement, in part due to a lack of knowledge. Cyberbattles can seem confusing, technical, and shrouded in secrecy, perhaps better left to the experts. But cybersecurity is everyone's problem now. The American public should inform itself, and these two books are a good place to start. If Washington inadvertently led the United States into a major cyberwar, Americans would have the most to lose.

[Apr 20, 2017] Bill Binney explodes the Russia witchhunt

Mar 04, 2017 | www.youtube.com

He also exposes the NSA penchant for "swindles", such as preventing the plugging of holes in software around the world, to preserve their spying access.

Frank Oak 3 weeks ago Big Mike's boat 200 tons coke bust n Hussien on the run as cosmic Camelots​ crimes going viral

Marija Djuric 3 weeks ago Bill Binney should be head of the NSA

Nancy M 3 weeks ago The Clinton campaign to divert attention to Russia instead of her myriad of crimes that were revealed during the election must be stopped and the alt media needs to start talking about her and Obama's crimes again and demand justice...control the dialogue

John 3 weeks ago It's almost comical to hear that they lie to each other. No wonder why these retards in the mid-east and every other third world country gets the better of us.

[Apr 20, 2017] Bill Maher Interviews Bill Binney NSA Whistleblower Obama Worst Than Bush! Impeach Them ALL!

Apr 20, 2017 | www.youtube.com

Alex B 8 months ago

This man is definitely a patriot in the strictest sense

> > > > > > > > > > > >

[Apr 20, 2017] NSA Whistleblower Everyone in US under virtual surveillance, all info stored, no matter the post

Notable quotes:
"... Who knew that the NSA mandate *is to exceed their mandate" ..."
Apr 20, 2017 | www.youtube.com

Ethercruiser 11 year ago

Great interview, thanks RT. I knew most of the material in this interview for years now, but it's good for it to get out whatever way possible. Hope you continue doing more such great interviews.

jake gittes 1 year ago

RT? Imagine the Russian equivalent? Golly, NSA out of control? Who knew? Who knew that the NSA mandate *is to exceed their mandate" .

If you were in prison for the last 15 yrs you would know that NSA security in triplicate is just doing what they've always been doing except that PRISM, restarted in 2007, is just updated software.

Jim Jimmy 2 years ago

there is one main reason they collect all information and target everyone, even members of congress and people like Angela merkel. If they have personal information on these powerful people there comes the chance to blackmail them. "vote this way on this" "consent to this policy". It's political leverage

Fighting Words 3 weeks ago

It's called POLICE STATE.

[Apr 15, 2017] Leaks NSA Penetrated Mideast Banking Networks -- News from Antiwar.com

Apr 15, 2017 | news.antiwar.com

New leaked documents released by the Shadow Brokers includes information showing that the NSA penetrated Middle Eastern financial networks , initially with an eye toward being able to track all financial transactions in the region as an "anti-money laundering" effort.

This involved hacking into the region's SWIFT banking system, and unsurprisingly,, given the NSA's penchant for mission creep fairly quickly grew this into an effort not only to have access to the information on financial transactions, but to try to gain access to a long list of banks "of interest."

The leaks provided information showing that SWIFT bureau in the Middle East, EastNet, made some very poor security choices, which would've allowed the NSA to easily attack essentially all of the banks on the network, as soon as they had compromised the first one.

Documents showed at least five of the banks "of interest" had been compromised. It is unclear from the documents whether the NSA continues to have these banks' systems compromised and is continued to collect data from them, though at the very least they now have a heads up that it's going on.

[Apr 14, 2017] 'Brought to you by agency which produced Al-Qaeda ISIS' – Assange trolls CIA chief

Notable quotes:
"... "Called a 'non-state intelligence service' today by the 'state non-intelligence agency' which produced Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Iraq, Iran & Pinochet." ..."
"... "non-state hostile intelligence service," ..."
"... "he and his ilk make common cause with dictators." ..."
"... "firm and continuing policy " ..."
"... "We publish truths regarding overreaches and abuses conducted in secret by the powerful," ..."
Apr 14, 2017 | www.rt.com
Julian Assange has responded to CIA Director Mike Pompeo's accusation that WikiLeaks is a "non-state intelligence agency" by trolling the CIA over its own roles in producing "Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Iraq, Iran and Pinochet."

Called a "non-state intelligence service" today by the "state non-intelligence agency" which produced al-Qaeda, ISIS, Iraq, Iran & Pinochet.

- Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) April 14, 2017

Assange tweeted, "Called a 'non-state intelligence service' today by the 'state non-intelligence agency' which produced Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Iraq, Iran & Pinochet."

Pompeo accused WikiLeaks of siding with dictators and being a "non-state hostile intelligence service," at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event on Thursday. He called Assange and his associates "demons" and said "he and his ilk make common cause with dictators."

BREAKING: #WikiLeaks is 'hostile intel' and #Assange & his followers are 'demons' - CIA chief Mike #Pompeo https://t.co/DA5MmJIYWF pic.twitter.com/MjQ87lKJgR

- RT America (@RT_America) April 13, 2017

Assange in turn accused the CIA of producing terrorist groups and dictators. He said the CIA produced Al-Qaeda, referring to the agency's role in arming and training mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets during the 1970s, some of whom – including Osama Bin Laden – later evolved into Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Assange has previously stated that the CIA's role in arming the mujahideen led to Al-Qaeda, which led to 9/11, the Iraq invasion and, later, the formation of ISIS.

The CIA admitted it was behind the 1953 coup in Iran which overthrew Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq and reinstalled the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, whose 26 year rule led to the 1979 Islamic revolution.

#WikiLeaks releases more than 500k US diplomatic cables from 1979 https://t.co/9Ophyvp2zD

- RT America (@RT_America) November 28, 2016

Assange's Pinochet reference alludes to the CIA's "firm and continuing policy " to assist in the overthrowing of Chilean President Salvador Allende in 1973, and its support for dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Pompeo's attack on WikiLeaks appears to be in response to an op-ed Assange wrote in the Washington Post on Tuesday which referenced President Dwight D. Eisenhower's 1961 farewell speech, in which he warned of the dangers of the influence of the military industrial complex. Assange said the speech is similar to WikiLeaks' own mission statement.

READ MORE: 40 targets in 16 countries: Scale of CIA-linked #Vault7 hacking tools revealed by Symantec

"We publish truths regarding overreaches and abuses conducted in secret by the powerful," he said, going on to say that WikiLeaks' motives are the same as those of the New York Times and the Washington Post.

Pompeo himself has previously appeared to support WikiLeaks' revelations, while President Donald Trump praised the whistleblowing site on more than one occasion during the presidential election, even professing his love for WikiLeaks in October.

[Apr 03, 2017] Mike Morell CIA leak an inside job

Apr 03, 2017 | www.youtube.com
Mar 11, 2017

Employees of the Central Intelligence Agency find themselves in challenging times. The agency is dealing with the release by WikiLeaks of top-secret documents, apparently detailing highly-classified surveillance methods, and a fraught relationship with President Trump, who has criticized the intelligence community ever since he campaigned for president. CBS News senior security contributor Michael Morell, former deputy director of the CIA, discusses the state of the agency, and what it means for America's security.

Get the latest news and best in original reporting from CBS News delivered to your inbox. Subscribe to newsletters HERE: http://cbsn.ws/1RqHw7T

Get your news on the go! Download CBS News mobile apps HERE: http://cbsn.ws/1Xb1WC8

Get new episodes of shows you love across devices the next day, stream local news live, and watch full seasons of CBS fan favorites anytime, anywhere with CBS All Access. Try it free! http://bit.ly/1OQA29B

---
Delivered by Charlie Rose, Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King, "CBS This Morning" offers a thoughtful, substantive and insightful source of news and information to a daily audience of 3 million viewers. The Emmy Award-winning broadcast presents a mix of daily news, coverage of developing stories of national and global significance, and interviews with leading figures in politics, business and entertainment. Check local listings for "CBS This Morning" broadcast times. Geral Hammonds 3 weeks ago

Jfk wanted to disband the CIA (Military industrial complex ) and i guess the CIA didn't like that very much and let Kennedy know how kuch they didn't like that in the most violent way possible, :(. And its really strange that the democrats are pro deep state, pro war, just advocates for the CIA But then again anything an anyone that is anti Trump is goo for them, Since the guy from the apprentice has completely devistated them as individuals and as a political party.
Diane Watson 3 weeks ago
Sure, the CIA always follows the law, I'm sure American citizens have never been targeted by them....uh-huh.

econogate 3 weeks ago
And monkeys fly out my butt.
busymountain 2 weeks ago
The US government and president is not your customer - you are our employee.
Yvette Campos 2 weeks ago
At 2:25 , Hillary supporter Mike Morell even admits that someone in the Obama CIA leaked info. Reports are that in December, 2016, a small group of IT contractors gave the info to WikiLeaks. Obama has other people do the dirty work for him.
Peter Lemmon 3 weeks ago
CIA killed journalist Mike Hastings with remote crashing his car. CIA has surpassed the authority of the NSA. CIA has no oversight, not even by President Trump. They are colluding with media to destroy Trump's presidency via revealing lies manufactured to bring criminal charges on him.

CIA is out of control, need the entire senior officers fired, investigated, charged and imprisoned or executed for treason & espionage & Title 8. If CIA does this to a president, they will do it to Americans who interfere with their criminal activities world-wide.

Rezarf 3 weeks ago
another MSM whitewash .... a ex CIA talking head minimising the illegalities of CIA actions and promoting a big $$$$ spend on an upgrade of CIA systems.... no doubt the US zombie public will swallow it hook line and sinker. There is no future for the US , it will either cause a WW3 scenario or disintegrate in to an internal civil conflict....
I. Sokolov 3 weeks ago
Mike Morell interview reveal it ia an inside job and many in the CIA is disillusioned, demoralized, and become Whistle Blowers! There have been to many scandals and leaks. The entire US Intelligence INDUSTRY must be dismantled and then rebuild. \

It is deeply troubling that sensitive data that can create huge problems is released. There is too many with security clearance to look at the data. Security clearance should only be given for the data relevant to do their job. The NSA collects all our data, all the time, and can query/search the database for something as simple as a phone number, IP address, bank account or name.

If the NSA, FBI, or CIA wants email or phone calls, on Trump or Flynn all they must do is query their name or phone number or email and date range. Bingo, they got it! This is going on 24/7. They capture all data flowing through the major fiber optic lines in the US. Over 5,000 people in the intel community are assigned to do nothing but mine this data.The NSA, CIA, and FBI have access to the information realtime, anytime! All of this is done without a warrant. Hell, who needs a FISA request? They have everything, and thousands of intel personnel have access to the information! You wonder why Jim Comey and others are freaking out! This is totally illegal. It was part of an Executive Order issued with the intent of pursuing drug dealers and know criminals NOT spying on the American people, but of course they wouldn't do that, or Would They? Businesses world-wide has now to spend large sums of money protecting themselves against CIA criminally invented malware and viruses. More than 1,5 BILLION phones and computers using Apple or Android operating system is affected. So far only 1% of Vault 7 released. What if the remaining 99% contain top-secret information on US neuro science programs (Mind and Mass Control). No problem, if this top-secret programs falls into the hands of Russia or China, since their neuro science programs is even better, but it would be a catastrophe if Mr. Kim in North Korea got hold of it and continued developing it.

[Mar 31, 2017] How To Protect Your Online Privacy Now That Congress Sold You Out

Mar 31, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
by Art Van Delay -> hedgeless_horseman , Mar 30, 2017 10:07 PM

Windows on a VirtualDrive and browse with VPN and use only ProtonMail

But sooner or later your info will get into public domain... It happened even to household names such as Hillary so it's easier to happen to a mere peasant

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQHXeJ1swJs

FreddieX -> beemasters , Mar 30, 2017 11:41 PM

Opera has a VPN option built in https://www.opera.com/computer/features/free-vpn

And TOR https://www.torproject.org/about/overview.html.en

TOR's android client browser is very good: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=info.guardianproject.orfox

AVmaster -> Art Van Delay , Mar 30, 2017 10:12 PM

Windows on a virtual drive???

LOL...

Anything connected to the internet is considered unsecure.... Networking Security 101... First thing the professor says when he walks in the door....

Oh, and microsoft spies on you more than anyone else, go google telemetry windows and how to remove it...

WINDOWS 10 is THE Biggest offender of all...

AVmaster -> Art Van Delay , Mar 30, 2017 10:43 PM

You don't get it dude...

Win10 records EVERYTHING: Keystrokes, opened programs, you name it, and it sends it off to microsoft servers.

Unless you intend to run windows completely disconnected from the net, microsoft is spying on you.

Here's a former MS employee laying it all out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5mFI9spp10

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1kGMCfb2xw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgKJMsJ-6XU

Freddie , Mar 30, 2017 10:14 PM

Hopefully Kim.com will come up w somrthing.

The USA is a police state. A nation of sheep and wailing wall Trump is not the answer as he auictioned off his goy kids.

White American males are especially pathetic as they worship and cheer on their NFL, NBA and NCAA college ball Trayvon rapists and thugs.

Southern whites (SEC) are among the most pathetic including college alum scum.

divingengineer -> Freddie , Mar 30, 2017 11:33 PM

Just pay the $50 lousy bucks a year and tell these govt assholes to sod off from behind a VPN.

SgtShaftoe , Mar 30, 2017 10:19 PM

Popular Mechanics... The same popular mechanics that did a snowjob on 9/11. Fuck popular mechanics.

Use a VPN service outside of the USA like TUvpn or vpntunnel.se or just use TOR. You can choose where your traffic will land (country) with many services. Though Hidemyass.com has a bad reputation of leaking on some of the anon people a number of years ago. So I wouldn't use them.

Some routers especially based on DDWRT will support VPN service setup from the router itself so everything in your house will think it's in Czech republic or wherever. Though this does mess with some streaming services like netflix and amazon who geo-IP block those addresses from using their service.

Torproject.org - free

Or you could move to a location with a rinky-dink ISP that doesn't sell your data.

When you use a VPN service some pages and most advertising will be in the language of the country's IP block and that's sometimes entertaining.

ebworthen , Mar 30, 2017 10:19 PM

NSA is collecting all this shit anyway.

Nothing on the Internet is secure, NOTHING.

ForTheWorld -> buckstopshere , Mar 30, 2017 11:23 PM

Tor is worse than most things, and it's easy to find the geographical location of exit nodes, and by extension, you: https://raidersec.blogspot.com/2013/09/mapping-tor-relays-and-exit-nodes...

If you're concerned about cyber criminals and identity thieves: Are you doing something that would warrant them coming after you? Do you respond to emails regarding the requirement to transmit several thousand dollars to a Prince of an African nation? If not, then you're doing as much as you can to avoid them.

If you need to pay for anything, do so through a service you've vetted and trust, make sure you're up to date with patches/updates for whatever OS and applications you use, use a VPN if you're paranoid about what your ISP is doing, and don't put any personally identifiable information online at all. That's about all you can do.

[Mar 31, 2017] Internet Activists Raising Big Bucks to Buy US Lawmakers' Browsing Histories

Mar 31, 2017 | sputniknews.com
© Sputnik/ Igor Mikhalev US 22:08 30.03.2017 (updated 03:24 31.03.2017) Get short URL 3 418 7 0 After the US Congress voted to remove internet privacy protections implemented under then-President Barack Obama, internet users are attempting to give lawmakers a taste of their own medicine. So far, at least two different fundraising efforts have raised about $215,000 to purchase and disclose the browsing histories of lawmakers.

President Donald Trump will soon receive the proposed bill, called SJR34, which would allow users' internet browsing history and data to be sold by Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

More than 3,000 people donated to a GoFundMe page by actor Misha Collins, who stars in the "Supernatural" television show. Collins' page has a goal of $500 million and has already raised a little over $71,000.

© REUTERS/ Gary Cameron Spying in Disguise: Notorious US Surveillance Bill May Kill Internet Privacy This Week in Senate

On Tuesday, Collins wrote on Twitter, "Thanks, Congress, for voting to put all of our private data up for sale! We can't wait to buy yours."

The campaign page reads, "Congress recently voted to strip Americans of their privacy rights by voting for SJR34, a resolution that allows Internet Service Providers to collect, and sell your sensitive data without your consent or knowledge This GoFundMe will pay to purchase the data of Donald Trump and every Congressperson who voted for SJR34, and to make it publicly available."

Tennessee-based net neutrality and privacy activist Adam McElhaney's GoFundMe has far surpassed its goal of $10,000, as more than 10,000 people have donated close to $165,000.

McElhaney explained on his page that not even browsing histories made in a private window are safe.

"Even if you go into an 'incognito mode' or 'private mode' from your browser, what you search for on the Internet, what sites you visit, are still recorded at the ISP level. They just aren't kept in your browser's history in that private mode," he said.

© Flickr/ Thomas van de Weerd 84% of Countries Lack Effective Laws for Protecting Internet Privacy

Through his website, searchinternethistory.com, McElhaney wants to reveal "everything" in lawmakers' browsing history "from their medical, pornographic, to their financial and infidelity. Help me raise money to buy the histories of those who took away your right to privacy for just thousands of dollars from telephone and ISPs. Your private data will be bought and sold to marketing companies, law enforcement."

Critics have said that while activists' hearts may be in the right place, they're moving from a place of misunderstanding.

"To be clear, you can't do this," wrote Russell Brandom in a Wednesday article for The Verge. "Just because carriers are allowed to market against data doesn't mean they're allowed to sell individual web histories. The campaigns seem well-intentioned, but that's just not how it works."

© Sputnik/ Alexander Makarov UN Adopts Internet Privacy Resolution Amid Snowden's Revelations

Brandom points out that sharing "individually identifiable" information is already illegal under the the Telecommunications Act. Therefore purchasing the data of politicians would be impossible.

The writer acknowledges that internet privacy is a serious issue, and that access to "aggregate" data could still be an issue, but says if the proposed bill falls through, "It's anyone's guess where the money will end up."

Misha Collins wrote on his campaign page that if the goal isn't met, all donated funds will be given to the ACLU.

[Mar 30, 2017] Congress Just Voted to Let Internet Providers Sell Your Web History

Mar 30, 2017 | lifehacker.com

You do have some options though. The easiest way to circumvent any of this is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). The next problem, then, is that VPNs are also completely unregulated, and choosing one that doesn't sell your data off is complicated mess . Most of us have more choices for a VPN provider than we do for an ISP, but it's still a gamble where you're assuming a company is as legit as they claim to be.

[Mar 29, 2017] To Serve AT T and Comcast, Congressional GOP Votes to Destroy Online Privacy by Glenn Greenwald

Notable quotes:
"... It's hardly rare for the U.S. Congress to enact measures gutting online privacy: indeed, the last two decades have ushered in a legislative scheme that implements a virtually ubiquitous Surveillance State composed of both public intelligence and military agencies along with their private-sector "partners." Members of Congress voting for these pro-surveillance measures invariably offer the pretext that they are acting for the benefit of American citizens – whose privacy they are gutting – by Keeping Them Safe™. ..."
"... Nobody can claim with a straight face that allowing AT&T and Comcast to sell their users' browser histories has any relationship to national security. Indeed, there's no minimally persuasive rationale that can be concocted for this vote. It manifestly has only one purpose: maximizing the commercial interests of these telecom giants at the expense of ordinary citizens. It's so blatant here that it cannot even be disguised. ..."
"... There is literally no constituency in favor of this bill other than these telecom giants. It'd be surprising if even a single voter who cast their ballot for Trump or a GOP Congress even thought about, let alone favored, rescission of privacy-protecting rules for ISPs. So blatant is the corporate-donor servitude here that there's no pretext even available for pretending this benefits ordinary citizens. It's a bill written exclusively by and for a small number of corporate giants exclusively for their commercial benefit at the expense of everyone else. ..."
"... But the inane idea that individuals should lose all online privacy protections in the name of regulatory consistency or maximizing corporate profits is something that is almost impossible to sell even to the most loyal ideologues. As Matt Stoller noted , there was "lots of anger in the comments section of Breitbart against the GOP for revoking the Obama privacy regs for ISPs." ..."
"... The first thing one noticed upon arriving on the DNC grounds was the AT&T logo everywhere: they were a major sponsor of the convention, with everything from huge signs to tote bags for the delegates carrying their logo. ..."
"... Perhaps a program that randomly visits websites and performs random searches while we sleep is in order? ..."
Mar 29, 2017 | theintercept.com
Clarifying events in politics are often healthy even when they produce awful outcomes. Such is the case with yesterday's vote by House Republicans to free internet service providers (ISPs) – primarily AT&T, Comcast and Verizon – from the Obama-era FCC regulations barring them from storing and selling their users' browsing histories without their consent. The vote followed an identical one last week in the Senate exclusively along party lines .

It's hard to overstate what a blow to individual privacy this is. Unlike Silicon Valley giants like Facebook and Google – which can track and sell only those activities of yours which you engage in while using their specific service – ISPs can track everything you do online. "These companies carry all of your Internet traffic and can examine each packet in detail to build up a profile on you," explained two experts from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Worse, it is not particularly difficult to avoid using specific services (such as Facebook) that are known to undermine privacy, but consumers often have very few choices for ISPs; it's a virtual monopoly.

It's hardly rare for the U.S. Congress to enact measures gutting online privacy: indeed, the last two decades have ushered in a legislative scheme that implements a virtually ubiquitous Surveillance State composed of both public intelligence and military agencies along with their private-sector "partners." Members of Congress voting for these pro-surveillance measures invariably offer the pretext that they are acting for the benefit of American citizens – whose privacy they are gutting – by Keeping Them Safe™.

But what distinguishes this latest vote is that this pretext is unavailable. Nobody can claim with a straight face that allowing AT&T and Comcast to sell their users' browser histories has any relationship to national security. Indeed, there's no minimally persuasive rationale that can be concocted for this vote. It manifestly has only one purpose: maximizing the commercial interests of these telecom giants at the expense of ordinary citizens. It's so blatant here that it cannot even be disguised.

That's why, despite its devastating harm for individual privacy, there is a beneficial aspect to this episode. It illustrates – for those who haven't yet realized it – who actually dominates Congress and owns its members: the corporate donor class.

There is literally no constituency in favor of this bill other than these telecom giants. It'd be surprising if even a single voter who cast their ballot for Trump or a GOP Congress even thought about, let alone favored, rescission of privacy-protecting rules for ISPs. So blatant is the corporate-donor servitude here that there's no pretext even available for pretending this benefits ordinary citizens. It's a bill written exclusively by and for a small number of corporate giants exclusively for their commercial benefit at the expense of everyone else.

Right-wing outlets like Breitbart tried hard to sell the bill to their readers . But the only rationale they could provide was that it's intended to "undo duplicitous regulation around consumer privacy," which, they suggested, was unfair to telecoms that faced harsher regulations than social media companies. To justify this, Breitbart quoted a GOP Congresswoman, Martha Blackburn, as claiming that the regulation is "unnecessary and just another example of big government overreach." When the Senate GOP voted last week to undo the restriction, Texas Sen. John Cornyn invoked the right-wing clichι that it "hurt job creators and stifle economic growth."

But the inane idea that individuals should lose all online privacy protections in the name of regulatory consistency or maximizing corporate profits is something that is almost impossible to sell even to the most loyal ideologues. As Matt Stoller noted , there was "lots of anger in the comments section of Breitbart against the GOP for revoking the Obama privacy regs for ISPs."

Stoller added that the resentment among even Breitbart readers over the vote was based on a relatively sophisticated understanding that the GOP Congress was subordinating the privacy rights of individuals to the corporate profits of Comcast, along with reinforcing monopoly power for what are really public utilities; as Stoller put it: "it's fascinating, when the political debates are about the use of concentrated business power, the debates are no longer as partisan."

This recognition – of who owns and controls Congress – is absolutely fundamental to understanding any U.S. political issue. And it does – or at least should – transcend both partisan and ideological allegiance because it prevails in both parties.

I still recall very vividly when I attended the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver. It was just months after the Democratic Congress (with ample help from the Bush White House and GOP members) spearheaded a truly corrupt bill to vest the telecom industry with retroactive immunity for having broken the law in allowing the NSA to access their American customers' calls and records without the warrants required by law (that was the 2008 bill which Obama, when seeking the Democratic nomination, vowed to filibuster, only to then flagrantly violate his promise by voting against a filibuster and for the bill itself once he had the nomination secured).

The sole beneficiaries of that bill were AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and the other telecom giants who faced serious civil and even criminal liability for this lawbreaking. The main forces ensuring its passage were the Bush White House and the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Jay Rockefeller, whose campaign coffers enjoyed a massive surge of telecom donations immediately before he championed their cause.

The first thing one noticed upon arriving on the DNC grounds was the AT&T logo everywhere: they were a major sponsor of the convention, with everything from huge signs to tote bags for the delegates carrying their logo.

The apex of this flagrant corruption was when AT&T threw a lavish party for the party centrists who helped pass the bill – entitled "AT&T thanks the Blue Dogs" – which both Democracy Now's Amy Goodman and I attended in the totally futile attempt to interview the hordes of Democratic lobbyists, delegates and corporate donors who toasted one another...

Bowiepoet, March 29 2017, 8:59 p.m.

This article beautifully and seamlessly reveals a truth. One that requires reflection by the people. Our government would prefer we weren't involved in their terms in office. As of late, they: 1) run from us, 2) Lie to gain access 3) Barely even pretend that there are two parties (and not one centrist elite party), preferring the rarefied air of the rich (Media whores & corporate lackeys) than constituents. Actual voters used to be met at.. county fairs or listening to/airing of grievances by the voters & small businesses in our capital. This 'office time' is better spent calling big doners now. If only one thing could be agreed upon by the people of this country, it should be formulation of a strict comprehensive campaign finance law that is impenetrable by scheming corporate lawyers. It's the ONE thing that we could do that would change all others. There should be consequences for lying to us to gain access to Gov't! Why are we loyal to those that lie to us?! I keep telling my Blue Dog friends that they need to STOP believing what politicians say, ( or what the tv media says that support them). Just follow the money & read The Intercept. Oh yes, & vote third party, even if it hurts.

altohone, March 29 2017, 7:04 p.m.

Perhaps a program that randomly visits websites and performs random searches while we sleep is in order?

Obviously, those with limited data usage wouldn't want to play along, but if enough of us participated, all that data they hope to profit off of would become worthless.

Anybody have any ideas along these lines? Not sure about generating random emails but monkey wrenching of some sort seems to be in order.

Thirdbestfriend, March 29 2017, 5:38 p.m.

@Glenn Greenwald

All great points, but you're missing a whole other level of grossness. The current FCC chair was already beginning to roll these back on his own:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/02/24/517050966/fcc-chairman-goes-after-his-predecessors-internet-privacy-rules

So this vote was completely unnecessary-UNLESS you wanted to be sure that no future FCC chair could reinstate the rules down the line. The Republican congress is going to be facing backlash for a vote they never needed to have in the first place. All because their ISP donors told them to.


[Mar 29, 2017] How To Improve The Linux System's Security Using Firejail

Mar 29, 2017 | www.ostechnix.com

As you already know, Linux kernel is secure by default. But, it doesn't mean that the softwares on the Linux system are completely secure. Say for example, there is a possibility that any add-ons on your web browser may cause some serious security issues. While doing financial transactions over internet, some key logger may be active in browser which you are not aware of. Even though, we can't completely give the bullet-proof security to our Linux box, we still can add an extra pinch of security using an application called Firejail . It is a security utility which can sandbox any such application and let it to run in a controlled environment. To put this simply, Firejail is a SUID (Set owner User ID up on execution) program that reduces the risk of security breaches by restricting the running environment of untrusted applications.

In this brief tutorial, we will discuss how to install firejail and use it to improve the Linux system's security using Firejail.

Features

Concerning about Firejail features, we can list the following:

Improve The Linux System's Security Using Firejail Installing Firejail

This security application is easy to install, and it can be installed using apt-get package manager. We will be using Ubuntu 16.04 OS for demonstration purpose.

Update Ubuntu Linux:

# apt-get update

Install Firejail application with command:

# apt-get install firejail

By default firejail configurations and profiles are stored under /etc/firejail . These can be manged by user as per their need, Have a look at the following output.

# ls /etc/firejail

Run applications with firejail

The typical syntax to use firejai is:

# firejail <application>

Say for example, to run Firefox web browser using firejail, we can use the following command:

# firejail firefox

When an user launch application with firejail, profile defined in firejail configurations get loaded and events are logged in syslog. By default firejail launch application with default profile, your can configure default profile with their own parameters.

Customize firejail profile for application

To create a custom profile for a application/command create following directory under home environment of user.

# cd ~
# mkdir -p  ~/.config/firejail

Copy generic profile to that newly created directory.

# cp /etc/firejail/generic.profile /home/user/.config/example.profile

Sample output:

# vim /etc/firejail/generic.profile

If you wants to load Document folder for a particular user to be loaded as read only. Defile parameters as follows:

blacklist /home/user/Documents

If you wants to set some attribute as read only:

read-only /home/user/Download

Accessing some banking stuff over the internet is recommended to be secured, can be achieved with firejail.

Create a directory for user.

# mkdir /home/user/safe

Firefox will consider 'safe' as home directory.

# firejail --private=/home/user/safe firefox &

Defile default network interface for application to run with.

# firejail --net=enp0s3 firefox&

Sample output:

Using firejail GUI tool

For the ease of user gui tool of firejail is available which can be downloaded from this link .

Download appropriate package as per your hardware and operating system installed and use it.

Download – Free Video: "Kali 101 – FREE Video Training Course (a $19 value!)" Conclusion

The filejail tool is a must have for Security concerned users. Although there are lots of methods available in Linux which can provide same level of security, Firejail is one such a way to improve the security to your Linux environment. We hope you will love this article.

Stay tuned!!

Resource:

[Mar 29, 2017] Congress Poised To Obliterate Broadband Privacy Rules Zero Hedge

Mar 29, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
Congress Poised To Obliterate Broadband Privacy Rules Dilluminati , Mar 28, 2017 9:31 PM

On Monday, the grassroots advocacy Fight for the Future announced that it will unleash billboards in Washington, D.C. and other select districts exposing any Congress member who votes to gut internet privacy rules.

I'll be sure to point out the hypocrisy of the representatives who vote for this.

https://zenmate.com/

I'll go with a better alternative if it passes

bamawatson -> Dilluminati , Mar 28, 2017 9:33 PM

barn door has already been left open far too long

greenskeeper carl -> erkme73 , Mar 28, 2017 9:44 PM

Highest bidder, huh? You mean the 'bidder' that gives you the ability to operate and can also tax/conjure money of of thin air? I wonder who the highest bidder will be?

Muddy1 -> greenskeeper carl , Mar 28, 2017 9:48 PM

IT IS OVER, THE HOUSE HAS VOTED< this IS A DONE DEAL

source: http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2017/03/28/house-votes-to-block-obama-era-online-privacy-rule.html

SamEyeAm , Mar 28, 2017 9:31 PM

GOD DAMMIT. Here we go again.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/28/internet-service-providers-sell-browsing-history-house-vote?CMP=share_btn_gp

I wonder if VPN companies lobbied for this?

greenskeeper carl -> cougar_w , Mar 28, 2017 9:58 PM

Thats a true story. Everytime I go somewhere that requires me to turn off ghostery to (usually) pay a utility bill or something and I come back here without turning ghostery back on, its insane. It really is the slowest site I visit to load. The number of trackers fills up my screen. Same with when I come here on Tor. My mac can takes forever to load the page, and it seems like every other site I visit runs slower if ZH is in a tab with ghostery paused.

Edit: by the time I scrolled down to the bottom of the page with blocking turned off, it was 109 trackers. I would have guessed half that many.

bruno_the -> asteroids , Mar 28, 2017 9:47 PM

What Difference Does It Make?

WillyGroper -> asteroids , Mar 28, 2017 9:52 PM

if you pay attention to what you're saying, then look at spam calls, the answer is yes. they pay $60 for your browsing info.

commodity to be harvested. baaaaa baaaaa

i told a friend the mortician wasn't getting my gold crowns...started getting all sorts of prepaid burial calls & snail mail.

same thing for verbage health related.

smart meters know when you pee.

ClassicalLib17 -> WillyGroper , Mar 28, 2017 10:10 PM

Are you referring to the "computer experts" from microsoft who call my home at least once a month stating that they detected a problem with my computer? These cocksuckers won't even cut off the call when I start cursing at them. Except the one guy that I kept on the line for thirty minutes trying to get me to turn over control of my computer to him. He hung up when I said that his mother looked mighty pretty last night with those legs up in the air. Afterwards I kind of felt ill when it dawned on me what she could possibly look like... naked! Oh the horror... the horror...

rejected , Mar 28, 2017 9:53 PM

"...and every lawmaker who votes to take away our privacy will regret it come Election Day."

They don't care,,, the payoff made them rich enough to retire for life. Also, if their important enough (McCain, etc) the machines will re-elect them. Last but not least the moron voters out there who don't keep tabs on their elected Reps will re-elect them.

WIN, WIN, WIN, for them.

LOSE for everyone else.

Rebel yell -> DuneCreature , Mar 28, 2017 10:39 PM

If you are targeted, check this out, it is the best site on TIs, there are fake ones by the CIA : https://fightgangstalking.com/what-is-gang-stalking/

Nesbiteme , Mar 28, 2017 10:18 PM

Stupid, stupid Americans.

Youri Carma , Mar 28, 2017 10:24 PM

Your Browser History Up For Grabs – Senate Takes Back Privacy Rules https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cf...

US Senate Kills ISP Privacy Regulations Mar 26, 2017 TWiT Netcast Network https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Samr_KUxPdc

For 16 Years, NSA Has Collected Everything Part 1, 1559 Mar 27, 2017 The Still Report https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfgjlwztETg

Rebel yell , Mar 28, 2017 10:50 PM

That is really creepy, crazy, and frightening! I think that I will buy the CEOs of the communication company's histories along with their families histories and the 50 senators histories and their families histories who voted for this legislation and post them all online for public consumption if this becomes law. Naturally I would also include all Representatives and their families histories that vote to pass it, as well as Trump and his families histories if this becomes law and is signed by them.

[Mar 25, 2017] Putin is not the only one who knows how to play a Dead Hand

Mar 25, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
warsev Mar 25, 2017 6:40 PM

Thing is, if Binney was actually a problem for the NSA et. al, the problem would be quickly eliminated. That he's still around to say what he says means that the NSA at least doesn't care, or more likely that he's a controlled disinformation mouthpiece.

Let the downvotes commence...

Not Too Important -> warsev Mar 25, 2017 6:49 PM

Or his 'insurance policy' is as big as Snowden's and Montgomery's. Putin isn't the only one that knows how to play a 'Dead Hand'.

Winston Churchill -> warsev Mar 25, 2017 6:54 PM

He probably has something much more dangerous to them to be released on a dead mans switch.

9/11 the full story perhaps.

CnStiggs Winston -> Churchillmm Mar 25, 2017 7:10 PM Indeed.

Like Kevin Shipp. I just got his book, "From The Company of Shadows" about his career in the CIA

Paper Mache -> Winston Churchill Mar 25, 2017 7:34 PM

II was thinking about that today. How is this man still alive, given the information he was talking about to Carlson?

I hope that the climate continues to warm towards whistleblowers, and more and more honest whistle blowers come forward to speak up. It''s the way to drain the sulphurous swamp. 9/11 might could surface and blow that way .

Perhaps Trump should start looking at Snowdon and Assange in completely different light too.

crossroaddemon -> warsev Mar 25, 2017 8:12 PM

That's what I was thinking, too. To consider this genuine, or at least important, one has to assume that there's an uncompromised press outlet.

I don't believe that. I think wikileaks is a psyop as well. Maybe even Snowden.

[Mar 24, 2017] CIA Developed Tools to Spy on Mac Computers, WikiLeaks Disclosure Shows

The documents posted by WikiLeaks suggest that the CIA had obtained information on 14 security flaws in Apple's iOS operating system for phones and tablets. The leaked documents also identified at least two dozen flaws in Android, the most popular operating system for smartphones, which was developed by Alphabet's Google division.
Notable quotes:
"... The spy software described in the latest documents was designed to be injected into a Mac's firmware, a type of software preloaded in the computer's chips. It would then act as a "listening post," broadcasting the user's activities to the CIA whenever the machine was connected to the internet. ..."
"... A similar tool called NightSkies was developed in 2009 to spy on iPhones, the documents said, with the agency figuring out how to install it undetected before a new phone was turned on for the first time. (Apple said that flaw affected only the iPhone 3G and was fixed in all later models.) ..."
"... By rewriting the firmware of a computer or a phone, tools that operate at the chip level can hide their existence and avoid being wiped out by routine software updates. ..."
Mar 24, 2017 | www.nytimes.com

The CIA developed tools to spy on Mac computers by injecting software into the chips that control the computers' fundamental operations, according to the latest cache of classified government documents published on Thursday by WikiLeaks .

Apple said in a statement Thursday evening that its preliminary assessment of the leaked information indicated that the Mac vulnerabilities described in the disclosure were previously fixed in all Macs launched after 2013.

However, the documents also indicated that the Central Intelligence Agency was developing a new version of one tool last year to work with current software.

The leaked documents were the second batch recently released by WikiLeaks, which said it obtained a hoard of information on the agency's cyberweapons programs from a former government worker or contractor. The first group of documents , published March 7, suggested that the CIA had found ways to hack Apple iPhones and Android smartphones, Microsoft Windows computers, Cisco routers and Samsung smart televisions.

Since the initial release of the CIA documents, which the agency has not confirmed are authentic, major technology companies have been scrambling to assess whether the security holes exploited by the CIA still exist and to patch them if they do.

All of the surveillance tools that have been disclosed were designed to be installed on individual phones or computers. But the effects could be much wider. Cisco Systems, for example, warned customers this week that many of its popular routers, the backbone of computer networks, could be hacked using the CIA's techniques.

... ... ...

The spy software described in the latest documents was designed to be injected into a Mac's firmware, a type of software preloaded in the computer's chips. It would then act as a "listening post," broadcasting the user's activities to the CIA whenever the machine was connected to the internet.

A similar tool called NightSkies was developed in 2009 to spy on iPhones, the documents said, with the agency figuring out how to install it undetected before a new phone was turned on for the first time. (Apple said that flaw affected only the iPhone 3G and was fixed in all later models.)

Although most of the tools targeted outdated versions of the Apple devices' software, the CIA's general approach raises new security concerns for the industry, said Eric Ahlm, who studies cybersecurity at Gartner, a research firm. By rewriting the firmware of a computer or a phone, tools that operate at the chip level can hide their existence and avoid being wiped out by routine software updates.

Under an agreement struck during the Obama administration, intelligence agencies were supposed to share their knowledge of most security vulnerabilities with tech companies so they could be fixed. The CIA documents suggest that some key vulnerabilities were kept secret for the government's use.

The CIA declined to comment Thursday, pointing reporters to its earlier statement about the leaks, in which it defended its use of "innovative, cutting-edge" techniques to protect the country from foreign threats and criticized WikiLeaks for sharing information that could help the country's enemies.

[Mar 23, 2017] Houston, we have a problem

Notable quotes:
"... Now we have "synthetic" surveillance. You don't even need a court order. Now all incidental communication intercepts can be unmasked. One can search their huge databases for all the incidental communications of someone of interest, then collect all of the unmasked incidental communications that involve that person and put them together in one handy dandy report. Viola! You can keep tabs on them every time they end up being incidentally collected. ..."
"... You ever went to an embassy party? Talked to a drug dealer or mafia guy without being aware of it? Correspond overseas? Your communications have been "incidentally" collected too. There is so much surveillance out there we have probably all bounced off various targets over the last several years. ..."
"... This is what police states do. In the past it was considered scandalous for senior U.S. officials to even request the identities of U.S. officials incidentally monitored by the government (normally they are redacted from intelligence reports). John Bolton's nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations was derailed in 2006 after the NSA confirmed he had made 10 such requests when he was Undersecretary of State for Arms Control in George W. Bush's first term. The fact that the intercepts of Flynn's conversations with Kislyak appear to have been widely distributed inside the government is a red flag. ..."
"... Representative Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told me Monday that he saw the leaks about Flynn's conversations with Kislyak as part of a pattern. ..."
"... The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc? ..."
"... But no matter what Flynn did, it is simply not the role of the deep state to target a man working in one of the political branches of the government by dishing to reporters about information it has gathered clandestinely. ..."
"... It is the role of elected members of Congress to conduct public investigations of alleged wrongdoing by public officials.. ..."
Mar 23, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

TeethVillage88s , Mar 23, 2017 6:54 PM

Yes, they have your Apples too:

Crash Overide -> aloha_snakbar , Mar 23, 2017 7:39 PM

Maxine Waters: 'Obama Has Put In Place' Secret Database With 'Everything On Everyone'

Vilfredo Pareto , Mar 23, 2017 7:01 PM

The rank and file of the IC are not involved in this. So let's not tar everyone with the same brush, but Obama revised executive order 12333 so that communication intercepts incidentally collected dont have to be masked and may be shared freely in the IC.

Now we have "synthetic" surveillance. You don't even need a court order. Now all incidental communication intercepts can be unmasked. One can search their huge databases for all the incidental communications of someone of interest, then collect all of the unmasked incidental communications that involve that person and put them together in one handy dandy report. Viola! You can keep tabs on them every time they end up being incidentally collected.

You ever went to an embassy party? Talked to a drug dealer or mafia guy without being aware of it? Correspond overseas? Your communications have been "incidentally" collected too. There is so much surveillance out there we have probably all bounced off various targets over the last several years.

What might your "synthetic" surveillance report look like?

Chupacabra-322 , Mar 23, 2017 7:04 PM

It's worth repeating.

There's way more going on here then first alleged. From Bloomberg, not my choice for news, but There is another component to this story as well -- as Trump himself just tweeted.

It's very rare that reporters are ever told about government-monitored communications of U.S. citizens, let alone senior U.S. officials. The last story like this to hit Washington was in 2009 when Jeff Stein, then of CQ, reported on intercepted phone calls between a senior Aipac lobbyist and Jane Harman, who at the time was a Democratic member of Congress.

Normally intercepts of U.S. officials and citizens are some of the most tightly held government secrets. This is for good reason. Selectively disclosing details of private conversations monitored by the FBI or NSA gives the permanent state the power to destroy reputations from the cloak of anonymity.

This is what police states do. In the past it was considered scandalous for senior U.S. officials to even request the identities of U.S. officials incidentally monitored by the government (normally they are redacted from intelligence reports). John Bolton's nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations was derailed in 2006 after the NSA confirmed he had made 10 such requests when he was Undersecretary of State for Arms Control in George W. Bush's first term. The fact that the intercepts of Flynn's conversations with Kislyak appear to have been widely distributed inside the government is a red flag.

Representative Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told me Monday that he saw the leaks about Flynn's conversations with Kislyak as part of a pattern. "There does appear to be a well orchestrated effort to attack Flynn and others in the administration," he said. "From the leaking of phone calls between the president and foreign leaders to what appears to be high-level FISA Court information, to the leaking of American citizens being denied security clearances, it looks like a pattern."

@?realDonaldTrump?

The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?

President Trump was roundly mocked among liberals for that tweet. But he is, in many ways, correct. These leaks are an enormous problem. And in a less polarized context, they would be recognized immediately for what they clearly are: an effort to manipulate public opinion for the sake of achieving a desired political outcome. It's weaponized spin.............

But no matter what Flynn did, it is simply not the role of the deep state to target a man working in one of the political branches of the government by dishing to reporters about information it has gathered clandestinely.

It is the role of elected members of Congress to conduct public investigations of alleged wrongdoing by public officials.. ..... But the answer isn't to counter it with equally irregular acts of sabotage - or with a disinformation campaign waged by nameless civil servants toiling away in the surveillance state.....

[Mar 17, 2017] Orwells 1984 was not a complete work of fiction, but a successful blueprint for full statist control

Notable quotes:
"... His book Animal Farm was a satire on Stalin and Trotsky and 1984 * gave readers a glimpse into what would happen if the government controlled every detail of a person's life, down to their own private thoughts. (*online bio). The battles in Europe were life and death with the goal of survival. ..."
"... We are now programed (propagandized) from pre school to the home for the elderly. We are initially taught as children, continue through college, and are forever conditioned by media such as TV, Movies, Radio, Newspapers and Advertising our entire lives. The younger generations are not taught to think independently or critically but instead indoctrinated with pre packaged knowledge 'propaganda' while older generations assess outcomes from a different perspective. There is as a result, a clash within the society which we are experiencing today. ..."
"... 1984 was about controlling the news and airwaves. Farenheit 451 was about burning history. The two go hand in hand. ..."
"... The similarity of the major networks evening "news" programs has given rise to a report that, each day, a list of ten or twelve "acceptable" news stories is prepared by British Intelligence in London for the networks, teletyped to Washington, where the CIA routinely approves it, and then delivered to the networks. ..."
"... The "selectivity" of the broadcasters has never been in doubt. Edith Efron, in "The News Twisters," (Manor Books, N.Y., 1972) cites TV Guide's interview with David Brinkley, April 11, 1964, with Brinkley's declaration that "News is what I say it is. It's something worth knowing by my standards." This was merely vainglorious boasting on Brinkley's part, as he merely reads the news stories previously selected for him. ..."
"... "REMEMBER THE MAINE!" That false flag headline is over a century old. ..."
"... Next time you are in a Best Buy.. go up to the Geek Squad guy and say... "So how does it feel to work for the CIA " ..."
"... Fuck the Washington Post. As Katherine Austin Fitts has suggested, it is essentially the CIA's Facebook wall. The same could be said of the NYT as well. ..."
"... James Rosen from Fox, he was at a state dept briefing with that little weasel Kirby, and Kirby stated that the negotiations over the Iran "deal" were all overt and "above the table." He remembered, tho, a briefing years earlier from the witch Psaki, who stated that sometimes, in interests of expedience, aspects of the negotiations are not made public. ..."
"... Rosen goes back to state dept video archives, finds out that his whole exchange with Psaki has been erased. Weasel Kirby, when asked how this happened, who did it, who ordered it, blames it on a "technical glitch." ..."
Mar 11, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

FreedomWriter -> TheWrench , Mar 11, 2017 10:12 AM

Snowflakes should also learn the depressing fact that Orwell's 1984 was not a complete work of fiction, but a successful blueprint for full statist control.

Orwell was dying of tuberculosis when he wrote "1984" and passed away after its publication in 1949. Once you have their attention and they have read the book, it is time to show snowflakes the MANY obvious parallels between Orwellian concepts and modern society.

NEWSPEAK AND THOUGHT CRIME

You can start with soft targets like Newspeak (today's examples include gems like cis-gender labels and other politically correct BS).

Now move to the "thought police" and thought crime in general.

Explain how thought and speech crime keep the globalist model alive and ticking by discouraging independent thought and discussion.

Explain how state-financed institutions seek to implant these concepts at an early age and onwards into university education.

Provide real-life newspeak and double-think examples, such as "police-action" "regime-change", "coalition of the willing" and "collateral damage". Show how these are really just PC euphemisms for "wars of aggression" and "murder". If you have a picture of a droned wedding party handy, now is the time to use it.

Also mention people who have been silenced, prosecuted or even killed for committing "hate crimes" or other political blasphemies. Explain how this often occurs while they are standing up for or using their constitutionally protected human rights.

Name some of these people: Randy and Vicki Weaver, David Koresh, Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders, Julian Assange, William Binney, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning

Show them how this trend is ongoing both in the USA and abroad, and is primarily being deployed against populist politicians who promote more individual rights and reduced state control over citizens. Ask them whether or not they can see a pattern developing here.

Above all, d on't waste time with cheap shots at identity politics and its absurd labelling. This will just polarize the more brainwashed members of your audience. Stick to the nitty gritty and irrefutable facts.

And be very careful here, because if they have insufficient vocabulary to understand or critique what you are saying, you will lose them. Which was the whole point of Newspeak. Of course you can use this failed learning opportunity to demonstrate just how successful the Newspeak program has been.

TELESCREENS

Tell them about the real life "Telescreens" that can now listen to you, even when turned off. Name one of their known manufacturers: Samsung and users: Central Intelligence Agency

Show them how these same telescreens are used to pump out constant lies from the MSM whenever they are turned on. Name some of these organizations: CNN, BBC, MSNBC, FOX, etc.

MASS SURVEILLANCE and the "PANOPTICON"

Talk to them about the modern surveillance state and how it will always be abused by corporate globalists and corrupt elites.

Describe how mass-surveillance service providers (MSSPs) and MSM stooges have become obscenely rich and powerful as the real-life proles (who were 85% of the population in "1984") struggle to put food on the table, pay their debts, find a decent job or buy a home. Tell them to find out how much wealth is owned by 8 very wealthy people relative to the poorest half of the world, and how this trend is accelerating. Name a few of them: Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Carlos Slim, etc.

Show how the previously enacted, totalitarian US policies, programs and laws have been extensively deployed, lobbied for, used and abused by the very Big-Brothers (Clinton and Obama) they so adored. Even George W is swooning progressives again.

Name some of these policies, programs and laws: Patriot Act, SOPA, US Telecommunications Act, FISA, Echelon, PRISM, and Umbrage

Explain why this whole surveillance system, its operators and proponents must be completely dismantled and reined in or imprisoned, unless we wish all whistle blowers, dissidents and normal citizens to end up like Winston Smith.

ETERNAL WAR AND THE BROTHERHOOD

Explain how eternal war keeps the proles from getting too restless and questioning their leaders. How it leads to modern strategic idiocies like "Osama Bin Laden and the Mujahedeen are steadfast allies against Russian totalitarianism, which is why the CIA needs to give them Stingers" (aka Operation Cyclone). Or the illegal provision of arms and funds to countries with questionable human rights records (KSA, Iran, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Israel.....)

Explain how this leads to, nay requires, state-propagated lies like WMD to justify illegal military actions against sovereign nation states like Iraq, Libya and Syria.

Show how 9/11 was used to target a former-ally Osama and his Taliban brotherhood and prepare the terrain for eternal war, even though the real criminals were actually in DC, Riyadh and other world capitals. Explain how letting Osama escape from Tora Bora was all part of this intricate plan for the PNAC, until he finally outlived his usefulness as a bogeyman. If they disagree, ask for their counter-argument and proofs.

Explain how these same criminals then made a financial killing when our real life Oceania went to war bigly with Eastasia. How this resulted in over a million civilian deaths (half of them children), around 80,000 terrorists and perhaps 10,000 uniformed soldiers/contractors. Show them videos where US officials justify this slaughter as "worth it", unimportant or irrelevant. Ask what kind of individuals could even say these things or let them happen. If they can't answer, name a few: Madeleine Albright, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

At this point, you may need to take a break as listeners will soon have trouble distinguishing between real-life events and those in Orwell's book.

WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

Next, explain how real, imagined or simulated terrorist outrages can be manipulated to influence electorates. This is done by creating or allowing atrocities that frighten citizens into seeking "safety". These citizens will then vote in corrupt, globalist leaders who promise to keep them safe. These same leaders can then curtail freedoms in their previously democratic, freedom-loving nation states. New terrorist threats can always be used to justify more restrictions on free movement and state-mandated invasions of personal privacy.

If your snowflakes don't agree with this, name some leaders responsible for bad laws, policies and the ensuing restrictions on civil liberties:

Tony Blair, George W Bush, Angela Merkel, Theresa May and Francois Hollande.

Name some events as well: Oklahoma City, 911, 7/7 Sandy Hook, 11-M

Also mention that the USA has not waged a single legal, constitutional, Congress-declared war since 1945. But that the USA has been involved in hot or cold wars for all but 5 of the past 71 years.

HISTORY AND BACKGROUND

Tell them that Orwell's original book title was actually "1944" (already past), but that his publisher vetoed this choice saying it could hurt sales.

Then explain how 1944-45 was actually the perfect crucible for the divisive, right-left political paradigm we live in today and many of the concepts presciently described in Orwell's chilling masterpiece.

EPILOGUE

Tell them everything, until their brains hurt, their eyes water and their ears bleed.

Eventually even the iciest snowflakes will get it.

Of course, some will cry, and some will have temper tantrums and meltdowns.

But a few might just wake up, start reading real books and get a proper education.

This is when the healing can begin.

Those thinking a career in gender-diversity-issue management is still the way forward may figure it out later, God help them. Until then, we should just pity them.

dearth vader , Mar 11, 2017 5:03 AM

Ira Levin's "This Perfect Day" (1970) is from the same dystopian mold. In the late Eighties, my then teenage daughter kept reading it, till it literally fell apart.

How technology has "advanced"! People in this phantasy had to wear bracelets with which they checked in and out of buildings and areas. Reality always seems to surpass the imaginative powers of SF-writers.

Maestro Maestro , Mar 11, 2017 5:16 AM

The problem is not your government.

YOU are the problem.

Your government is not populated by reptilians from outer space. The politicians and the bankers, lawyers are YOUR sons and daughters. You gave birth to them, you educated them, you taught them their values.

YOU pull the trigger when the government says KILL! YOU vote Democrat or Republican EVERY TIME. Yet you have the temerity to blame them when you don't get what you wanted.

Scum,

Hitler didn't kill anyone as fas as we know, in WWII. People [YOU] killed people. You blame the Jews because the wars they incite you to fight result in blowback to you. Why do you blame them because YOU jumped when they said JUMP! YOU are the ones flying the fighter jets and firing the tank shells against foreign populations living 10,000 miles away from your land, and who have not attacked you. NO ONE does anything unless they wanted to, in the first place. In any case, YOU are responsible for YOUR actions. This we all know.

Even your own money the US dollar is illegal according to your own US Constitution (Article 1, Section 10) yet you commit mass murder and mass torture throughout the world in order to impose it on everyone?

Fuck you, American.

BrownCoat , Mar 11, 2017 6:59 AM

The liberals are promoting the book (Nineteen Eighty-Four). IMO, that's great! Orwell's book is a classic and accurately describes features in our current society.

The downside is that the liberals won't understand it . They are promoting the idea that Trump is a fascist. They don't see that they themselves are fascists (albeit a different brand of fascism). Ironic that the book could help them see past the indoctrinated haze of their perspective, but it won't. The future, from my perspective, is a boot stamping on a human face forever.

Robert of Ottawa -> BrownCoat , Mar 11, 2017 8:09 AM

Fascism as a style of government rather than philosophy .

RevIdahoSpud3 , Mar 11, 2017 9:07 AM

I read 1984 in 1960 as a freshman in HS. Spent the next 24 years waiting. I don't remember details but I do remember it was upsetting at the time to picture my future as depicted by Orwell. It might be more interesting to me now to go back to the publishing date and study the paradigm that Orwell lived under to get a perspective of his mindset. He wasn't a US citizen. He was born in India, moved to England with his mother, had little contact with his father, was sickly and lonely as a child and suffered from tuberculosis as an adult, served in Burma for five years as a policeman, fought Soviet backed Communsts in the Spanish Civil War, fought Facism, believed in Democratic socialism or Classless socialism.

His book Animal Farm was a satire on Stalin and Trotsky and 1984 * gave readers a glimpse into what would happen if the government controlled every detail of a person's life, down to their own private thoughts. (*online bio). The battles in Europe were life and death with the goal of survival.

The European cauldron produced or nurtured, IMO, the seeds of most social evils that exist today. In Orwell's era society was changing and reacting to the Machine age which was followed by the Atomic age, the Space age and to the current Information age. He died in 1950 but in his environment, the Machine age is where he related. The forces (of evil) at work in his era still exist today with the additions of the changes brought by the later ages. We don't contend with the physical (at least not initially) conquerors such as the Genghis Khan, Mohamed, Alexander, Roman conquest etc. of the past but the compulsion of others to control our lives still exists just in different forms. We as a society react or comply and have the same forces to deal with as did Orwell but also those that resulted in the later eras. 1984 was actually the preview of the information age that Orwell didn't experience.

We are now programed (propagandized) from pre school to the home for the elderly. We are initially taught as children, continue through college, and are forever conditioned by media such as TV, Movies, Radio, Newspapers and Advertising our entire lives. The younger generations are not taught to think independently or critically but instead indoctrinated with pre packaged knowledge 'propaganda' while older generations assess outcomes from a different perspective. There is as a result, a clash within the society which we are experiencing today.

Through the modern (at least recorded) ages the underlying force no matter what era humans lived through was the conflict of...religion. In the name or names of God and whose god is the true god and which god will rule. Even in the most 'godless' societies it is the underlying force. There are many who do not believe in god or a god and by extension should or do not believe in satin. Good vs Evil? It's always there, although we are encouraged not to mention it?

Can't say I need another go at 1984 from Costco but I do need another indoor/outdoor vacuum and right now they have one with a manufacturers discount of $5. See you there!

Collectivism Killz , Mar 11, 2017 9:24 AM

1984 is really just a knock off of Evgeny Zemyatin's "We," which is frankly a better account of dystopian authoritarianism from someone who wrote shortly after the Russian Revolution.

FrankDrakman -> Collectivism Killz , Mar 11, 2017 9:39 AM

This is not true. Orwell's book touched on major points, such as the destruction of people's ability to communicate real ideas by perversion and simplification of language, that are not discussed elsewhere. It is a unique and disturbing view of totalitarian regimes.

Atomizer , Mar 11, 2017 10:22 AM

Tyler, your missing the point. 1984 was about controlling the news and airwaves. Farenheit 451 was about burning history. The two go hand in hand.

Fahrenheit 451 (1966) Full Movie | Julie Christie ...

Nobodys Home , Mar 11, 2017 10:23 AM

Manipulation of the news is not new folks:

The similarity of the major networks evening "news" programs has given rise to a report that, each day, a list of ten or twelve "acceptable" news stories is prepared by British Intelligence in London for the networks, teletyped to Washington, where the CIA routinely approves it, and then delivered to the networks.

The "selectivity" of the broadcasters has never been in doubt. Edith Efron, in "The News Twisters," (Manor Books, N.Y., 1972) cites TV Guide's interview with David Brinkley, April 11, 1964, with Brinkley's declaration that "News is what I say it is. It's something worth knowing by my standards." This was merely vainglorious boasting on Brinkley's part, as he merely reads the news stories previously selected for him.

Sinophile -> Nobodys Home , Mar 11, 2017 11:33 AM

"REMEMBER THE MAINE!" That false flag headline is over a century old.

Dragon HAwk , Mar 11, 2017 10:53 AM

Next time you are in a Best Buy.. go up to the Geek Squad guy and say... "So how does it feel to work for the CIA "

Al Bondiga , Mar 11, 2017 11:13 AM

Fuck the Washington Post. As Katherine Austin Fitts has suggested, it is essentially the CIA's Facebook wall. The same could be said of the NYT as well.

SurfinUSA , Mar 11, 2017 1:37 PM

Bezos has no problem selling "1984" on Amazon. https://tinyurl.com/hdmhu75 He's collecting the sales price and sticking it in his pocket. He's not making a joke out of it. Bezos is a lunatic. The Washington Post is full of shit. End of story.

Amy G. Dala -> SurfinUSA , Mar 11, 2017 2:23 PM

James Rosen from Fox, he was at a state dept briefing with that little weasel Kirby, and Kirby stated that the negotiations over the Iran "deal" were all overt and "above the table." He remembered, tho, a briefing years earlier from the witch Psaki, who stated that sometimes, in interests of expedience, aspects of the negotiations are not made public.

Rosen goes back to state dept video archives, finds out that his whole exchange with Psaki has been erased. Weasel Kirby, when asked how this happened, who did it, who ordered it, blames it on a "technical glitch."

It's a slippery fuckin slope. Only now the progressives are finding relevance in 1984?

[Feb 21, 2017] Stockman Warns Trump Flynns Gone But They are Still Gunning For You, Donald by David Stockman

Notable quotes:
"... In any event, it was "intercepts" leaked from deep in the bowels of the CIA to the Washington Post and then amplified in a 24/7 campaign by the War Channel (CNN) that brought General Flynn down. ..."
"... But here's the thing. They were aiming at Donald J. Trump. And for all of his puffed up bluster about being the savviest negotiator on the planet, the Donald walked right into their trap, as we shall amplify momentarily. ..."
"... But let's first make the essence of the matter absolutely clear. The whole Flynn imbroglio is not about a violation of the Logan Act owing to the fact that the general engaged in diplomacy as a private citizen. ..."
"... It's about re-litigating the 2016 election based on the hideous lie that Trump stole it with the help of Vladimir Putin. In fact, Nancy Pelosi was quick to say just that: ..."
"... 'The American people deserve to know the full extent of Russia's financial, personal and political grip on President Trump and what that means for our national security,' House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a press release. ..."
"... And Senator Graham, the member of the boobsey twins who ran for President in 2016 while getting a GOP primary vote from virtually nobody, made clear that General Flynn's real sin was a potential peace overture to the Russians: ..."
"... We say good riddance to Flynn, of course, because he was a shrill anti-Iranian warmonger. But let's also not be fooled by the clinical term at the heart of the story. That is, "intercepts" mean that the Deep State taps the phone calls of the President's own closest advisors as a matter of course. ..."
"... As one writer for LawNewz noted regarding acting Attorney General Sally Yates' voyeuristic pre-occupation with Flynn's intercepted conversations, Nixon should be rolling in his grave with envy: ..."
"... Yes, that's the same career apparatchik of the permanent government that Obama left behind to continue the 2016 election by other means. And it's working. The Donald is being rapidly emasculated by the powers that be in the Imperial City due to what can only be described as an audacious and self-evident attack on Trump's Presidency by the Deep State. ..."
"... Indeed, the paper details an apparent effort by Yates to misuse her office to launch a full-scale secret investigation of her political opponents, including 'intercepting calls' of her political adversaries. ..."
"... Yet on the basis of the report's absolutely zero evidence and endless surmise, innuendo and "assessments", the Obama White House imposed another round of its silly school-boy sanctions on a handful of Putin's cronies. ..."
"... Of course, Flynn should have been telling the Russian Ambassador that this nonsense would be soon reversed! ..."
"... But here is the ultimate folly. The mainstream media talking heads are harrumphing loudly about the fact that the very day following Flynn's call -- Vladimir Putin announced that he would not retaliate against the new Obama sanctions as expected; and shortly thereafter, the Donald tweeted that Putin had shown admirable wisdom. ..."
"... That's right. Two reasonably adult statesman undertook what might be called the Christmas Truce of 2016. But like its namesake of 1914 on the bloody no man's land of the western front, the War Party has determined that the truce-makers shall not survive. ..."
"... The Donald has been warned. ..."
Feb 21, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
Submitted via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity,

General Flynn's tenure in the White House was only slightly longer than that of President-elect William Henry Harrison in 1841. Actually, with just 24 days in the White House, General Flynn's tenure fell a tad short of old "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too". General Harrison actually lasted 31 days before getting felled by pneumonia.

And the circumstances were considerably more benign. It seems that General Harrison had a fondness for the same "firewater" that agitated the native Americans he slaughtered at the famous battle memorialized in his campaign slogan. In fact, during the campaign a leading Democrat newspaper skewered the old general, who at 68 was the oldest US President prior to Ronald Reagan, saying:

Give him a barrel of hard [alcoholic] cider, and a pension of two thousand [dollars] a year and he will sit the remainder of his days in his log cabin.

That might have been a good idea back then (or even now), but to prove he wasn't infirm, Harrison gave the longest inaugural address in US history (2 hours) in the midst of seriously inclement weather wearing neither hat nor coat.

That's how he got pneumonia! Call it foolhardy, but that was nothing compared to that exhibited by Donald Trump's former national security advisor.

General Flynn got the equivalent of political pneumonia by talking for hours during the transition to international leaders, including Russia's ambassador to the US, on phone lines which were bugged by the CIA Or more accurately, making calls which were "intercepted" by the very same NSA/FBI spy machinery that monitors every single phone call made in America.

Ironically, we learned what Flynn should have known about the Deep State's plenary surveillance from Edward Snowden. Alas, Flynn and Trump wanted the latter to be hung in the public square as a "traitor", but if that's the solution to intelligence community leaks, the Donald is now going to need his own rope factory to deal with the flood of traitorous disclosures directed against him.

In any event, it was "intercepts" leaked from deep in the bowels of the CIA to the Washington Post and then amplified in a 24/7 campaign by the War Channel (CNN) that brought General Flynn down.

But here's the thing. They were aiming at Donald J. Trump. And for all of his puffed up bluster about being the savviest negotiator on the planet, the Donald walked right into their trap, as we shall amplify momentarily.

But let's first make the essence of the matter absolutely clear. The whole Flynn imbroglio is not about a violation of the Logan Act owing to the fact that the general engaged in diplomacy as a private citizen.

It's about re-litigating the 2016 election based on the hideous lie that Trump stole it with the help of Vladimir Putin. In fact, Nancy Pelosi was quick to say just that:

'The American people deserve to know the full extent of Russia's financial, personal and political grip on President Trump and what that means for our national security,' House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a press release.

Yet, we should rephrase. The re-litigation aspect reaches back to the Republican primaries, too. The Senate GOP clowns who want a war with practically everybody, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, are already launching their own investigation from the Senate Armed Services committee.

And Senator Graham, the member of the boobsey twins who ran for President in 2016 while getting a GOP primary vote from virtually nobody, made clear that General Flynn's real sin was a potential peace overture to the Russians:

Sen. Lindsey Graham also said he wants an investigation into Flynn's conversations with a Russian ambassador about sanctions: "I think Congress needs to be informed of what actually Gen. Flynn said to the Russian ambassador about lifting sanctions," the South Carolina Republican told CNN's Kate Bolduan on "At This Hour. And I want to know, did Gen. Flynn do this by himself or was he directed by somebody to do it?"

We say good riddance to Flynn, of course, because he was a shrill anti-Iranian warmonger. But let's also not be fooled by the clinical term at the heart of the story. That is, "intercepts" mean that the Deep State taps the phone calls of the President's own closest advisors as a matter of course.

This is the real scandal as Trump himself has rightly asserted. The very idea that the already announced #1 national security advisor to a President-elect should be subject to old-fashion "bugging," albeit with modern day technology, overwhelmingly trumps the utterly specious Logan Act charge at the center of the case.

As one writer for LawNewz noted regarding acting Attorney General Sally Yates' voyeuristic pre-occupation with Flynn's intercepted conversations, Nixon should be rolling in his grave with envy:

Now, information leaks that Sally Yates knew about surveillance being conducted against potential members of the Trump administration, and disclosed that information to others. Even Richard Nixon didn't use the government agencies themselves to do his black bag surveillance operations. Sally Yates involvement with this surveillance on American political opponents, and possibly the leaking related thereto, smacks of a return to Hoover-style tactics. As writers at Bloomberg and The Week both noted, it wreaks of 'police-state' style tactics. But knowing dear Sally as I do, it comes as no surprise.

Yes, that's the same career apparatchik of the permanent government that Obama left behind to continue the 2016 election by other means. And it's working. The Donald is being rapidly emasculated by the powers that be in the Imperial City due to what can only be described as an audacious and self-evident attack on Trump's Presidency by the Deep State.

Indeed, it seems that the layers of intrigue have gotten so deep and convoluted that the nominal leadership of the permanent government machinery has lost track of who is spying on whom. Thus, we have the following curious utterance by none other than the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes:

'I expect for the FBI to tell me what is going on, and they better have a good answer,' he told The Washington Post. 'The big problem I see here is that you have an American citizen who had his phone calls recorded.'

Well, yes. That makes 324 million of us, Congressman.

But for crying out loud, surely the oh so self-important chairman of the House intelligence committee knows that everybody is bugged. But when it reaches the point that the spy state is essentially using its unconstitutional tools to engage in what amounts to "opposition research" with the aim of election nullification, then the Imperial City has become a clear and present danger to American democracy and the liberties of the American people.

As Robert Barnes of LawNewz further explained, Sally Yates, former CIA director John Brennan and a large slice of the Never Trumper intelligence community were systematically engaged in "opposition research" during the campaign and the transition:

According to published reports, someone was eavesdropping, and recording, the conversations of Michael Flynn, while Sally Yates was at the Department of Justice. Sally Yates knew about this eavesdropping, listened in herself (Pellicano-style for those who remember the infamous LA cases), and reported what she heard to others. For Yates to have such access means she herself must have been involved in authorizing its disclosure to political appointees, since she herself is such a political appointee. What justification was there for an Obama appointee to be spying on the conversations of a future Trump appointee?

Consider this little tidbit in The Washington Post . The paper, which once broke Watergate, is now propagating the benefits of Watergate-style surveillance in ways that do make Watergate look like a third-rate effort. (With the) FBI 'routinely' monitoring conversations of Americans...... Yates listened to 'the intercepted call,' even though Yates knew there was 'little chance' of any credible case being made for prosecution under a law 'that has never been used in a prosecution.'

And well it hasn't been. After all, the Logan Act was signed by President John Adams in 1799 in order to punish one of Thomas Jefferson's supporters for having peace discussions with the French government in Paris. That is, it amounted to pre-litigating the Presidential campaign of 1800 based on sheer political motivation.

According to the Washington Post itself, that is exactly what Yates and the Obama holdovers did day and night during the interregnum:

Indeed, the paper details an apparent effort by Yates to misuse her office to launch a full-scale secret investigation of her political opponents, including 'intercepting calls' of her political adversaries.

So all of the feigned outrage emanating from Democrats and the Washington establishment about Team Trump's trafficking with the Russians is a cover story. Surely anyone even vaguely familiar with recent history would have known there was absolutely nothing illegal or even untoward about Flynn's post-Christmas conversations with the Russian Ambassador.

Indeed, we recall from personal experience the thrilling moment on inauguration day in January 1981 when word came of the release of the American hostages in Tehran. Let us assure you, that did not happen by immaculate diplomatic conception -- nor was it a parting gift to the Gipper by the outgoing Carter Administration.

To the contrary, it was the fruit of secret negotiations with the Iranian government during the transition by private American citizens. As the history books would have it because it's true, the leader of that negotiation, in fact, was Ronald Reagan's national security council director-designate, Dick Allen.

As the real Washington Post later reported, under the by-line of a real reporter, Bob Woodward:

Reagan campaign aides met in a Washington DC hotel in early October, 1980, with a self-described 'Iranian exile' who offered, on behalf of the Iranian government, to release the hostages to Reagan, not Carter, in order to ensure Carter's defeat in the November 4, 1980 election.

The American participants were Richard Allen, subsequently Reagan's first national security adviser, Allen aide Laurence Silberman, and Robert McFarlane, another future national security adviser who in 1980 was on the staff of Senator John Tower (R-TX).

To this day we have not had occasion to visit our old friend Dick Allen in the US penitentiary because he's not there; the Logan Act was never invoked in what is surely the most blatant case ever of citizen diplomacy.

So let's get to the heart of the matter and be done with it. The Obama White House conducted a sour grapes campaign to delegitimize the election beginning November 9th and it was led by then CIA Director John Brennan.

That treacherous assault on the core constitutional matter of the election process culminated in the ridiculous Russian meddling report of the Obama White House in December. The latter, of course, was issued by serial liar James Clapper, as national intelligence director, and the clueless Democrat lawyer and bag-man, Jeh Johnson, who had been appointed head of the Homeland Security Department.

Yet on the basis of the report's absolutely zero evidence and endless surmise, innuendo and "assessments", the Obama White House imposed another round of its silly school-boy sanctions on a handful of Putin's cronies.

Of course, Flynn should have been telling the Russian Ambassador that this nonsense would be soon reversed!

But here is the ultimate folly. The mainstream media talking heads are harrumphing loudly about the fact that the very day following Flynn's call -- Vladimir Putin announced that he would not retaliate against the new Obama sanctions as expected; and shortly thereafter, the Donald tweeted that Putin had shown admirable wisdom.

That's right. Two reasonably adult statesman undertook what might be called the Christmas Truce of 2016. But like its namesake of 1914 on the bloody no man's land of the western front, the War Party has determined that the truce-makers shall not survive.

The Donald has been warned.

xythras , Feb 20, 2017 10:02 PM

Assange is about to face censorship from one LENIN Moreno (next Ecuadorian president)

Assange must Reduce "Meddling" in US Policies While in Ecuadorian Embassy

http://dailywesterner.com/news/2017-02-20/assange-must-reduce-meddling-i...

How ironic

Darktarra -> xythras , Feb 20, 2017 10:11 PM

We haven't had deep state (successfully) take out a President since JFK. I am sure they will literally be gunning for Donald Trump! His election screwed up the elite's world order plans ... poor Soros ... time for him to take a dirt knap!

Be careful Trump! They will try and kill you! The United States government is COMPLETELY corrupt. Draining the swamp means its either you or they die!

wanglee -> Darktarra , Feb 20, 2017 10:18 PM

Let us help Trump's presidency to make America (not globalist) great again.

Not only democrats rigged Primary to elect Clinton as presidential candidate last year even though she has poor judgement (violating government cyber security policy) and is incompetent (her email server was not secured) when she was the Secretary of State, and was revealed to be corrupt by Bernie Sanders during the Primary, but also democrats encourage illegal immigration, discourage work, and "conned" young voters with free college/food/housing/health care/Obama phone. Democratic government employees/politicians also committed crimes to leak classified information which caused former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn losing his job and undermined Trump's presidency.

However middle/working class used their common senses voting against Clinton last November. Although I am not a republican and didn't vote in primary but I voted for Trump and those Republicans who supported Trump in last November since I am not impressed with the "integrity" and "judgement" of democrats, Anti-Trump protesters, Anti-Trump republicans, and those media who endorsed Clinton during presidential election and they'll work for globalists, the super rich, who moved jobs/investment overseas for cheap labor/tax and demanded middle/working class to pay tax to support welfare of illegal aliens and refugees who will become globalist's illegal voters and anti-Trump protesters.

To prevent/detect voter fraud, "voter ID" and "no mailing ballots" must be enforced to reduce possible "voter frauds on a massive scale" committed by democratic/republic/independent party operatives. All the sanctuary counties need to be recounted and voided county votes if recount fails since the only county which was found to count one vote many times is the only "Sanctuary" county, Wayne county, in recount states (Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin) last year. The integrity of voting equipment and voting system need to be tested, protected and audited. There were no voting equipment stuck to Trump. Yet, many voting equipment were found to switch votes to Clinton last November. Voter databases need to be kept current. Encourage reporting of "voter fraud on a massive scale" committed by political party operatives with large reward.

Cashing in: Illegal immigrants get $1,261 more welfare than American families, $5,692 vs. $4,431 ( http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/cashing-in-illegal-immigrants-get-1261... ) DEA Report Shows Infiltration of Mexican Drug Cartels in Sanctuary Cities ( http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2015/09/08/dea-report-shows-infiltration-... ) Welfare Discourages Work( http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/04/27/the-science-is-settle... ) Hillary Clinton Says Bernie Sanders's "Free College" Tuition Plan Is All a Lie ( http://www.teenvogue.com/story/clinton-says-sanders-free-tuition-wont-wo... UC Berkeley Chancellor: Hillary Clinton 'Free' College Tuition Plan Won't Happen ( http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/09/30/uc-berkeley-chancello... ) Bill Clinton Impeachment Chief Investigator: I'm 'Terrified' of Hillary because we know that there were "People" who "Disappeared" ( http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/10/30/exclusive-bil... ) Former FBI Asst. Director Accuses Clintons Of Being A "Crime Family" ( http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-30/former-fbi-asst-director-accuse... ) FBI boss Comey's 7 most damning lines on Clinton ( http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/05/politics/fbi-clinton-email-server-comey-da... ). Aides claiming she "could not use a computer," and didn't know her email password– New FBI docs ( https://www.rt.com/usa/360528-obama-implicated-clinton-email/ ). 23 Shocking Revelations From The FBI's Clinton Email Report ( http://dailycaller.com/2016/09/02/23-shocking-revelations-from-the-fbis-... ) DOJ grants immunity to ex-Clinton staffer who set up her email server ( http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/02/politics/hillary-clinton-email-server-just... ) Former House Intelligence Chairman: I'm '100 Percent' Sure Hillary's Server Was Hacked ( http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/11/06/former-house-... ) Exclusive - Gen. Mike Flynn: Hillary Clinton's Email Setup Was 'Unbelievable Active Criminal Behavior' ( http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/11/06/exclusive-gen... ) Clinton directed her maid to print out classified materials ( http://nypost.com/2016/11/06/clinton-directed-her-maid-to-print-out-clas... ) Obama lied to the American people about his secret communications with Clinton( http://www.thepoliticalinsider.com/president-barack-obama-hillary-email-... ) Former U.S. Attorney General, John Ashcroft: FBI didn't 'clear' Clinton ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFYQ3Cdp0zQ ) When the Clintons Loved Russia Enough to Sell Them Our Uranium ( http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/07/25/flashback-cli... ) Wikileaks: Clinton Foundation Chatter with State Dept on Uranium Deal with Russia ( http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/10/08/wikileaks-putting-on-... ) Russian officials donated $$$ to Clinton Foundation for Russian military research ( http://www.breitbart.com/radio/2016/12/16/schweizer-insecure-left-wants-... ) Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Uranium Deal ( https://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/24/us/cash-flowed-to-clinton-foundation-... ) HILLARY CAMPAIGN CHIEF LINKED TO MONEY-LAUNDERING IN RUSSIA ( HTTP://WWW.WND.COM/2016/10/HILLARY-CAMPAIGN-CHIEF-LINKED-TO-MONEY-LAUNDE... ) The largest source of Trump campaign funds is small donors giving under $200 ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-self-fund_us_57fd4556e4... ) How mega-donors helped raise $1 billion for Hillary Clinton ( https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/how-mega-donors-helped-raise-1-b... ) Final newspaper endorsement count: Clinton 57, Trump 2 ( http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/304606-final-news... ) Journalists shower Hillary Clinton with campaign cash ( https://www.publicintegrity.org/2016/10/17/20330/journalists-shower-hill... ) Judicial Watch Planning to Sue FBI, NSA, CIA for Flynn Records ( http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/02/16/judicial-watch-planni... )

President Trump Vowed to Investigate Voter Fraud. Then Lawmakers Voted to "Eliminate" Election Commission Charged with Helping States Improve their Voting Systems ( http://time.com/4663250/house-committee-eliminates-election-commission-v... ) California's Recipe for Voter Fraud on a Massive Scale( http://www.breitbart.com/california/2017/01/27/voter-fraud/ ) California Republican Party Official Alleges Voter Fraud In California, a "Sanctuary" state ( http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2016/11/28/trump-among-those-saying-vot... ) BREAKING: Massive Voter Fraud Discovered In Mailing Ballots In Pennsylvania! See Huge Twist In Results! ( http://www.usapoliticstoday.com/massive-voter-fraud-pennsylvania/ ) "Voting Fraud" revealed during "Recount": Scanners were used to count one vote many times to favor Clinton in Wayne County, a "Sanctuary" county including Detroit and surrounding areas.( http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-06/michigan-republicans-file-emerg... ) Illegal Voters Tipping Election Scales ( http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/243947/illegal-voters-tipping-election-s... ) Voter Fraud: We've Got Proof It's Easy ( http://www.nationalreview.com/article/368234/voter-fraud-weve-got-proof-... ) Voter Fraud Is Real. Here's The Proof ( http://thefederalist.com/2016/10/13/voter-fraud-real-heres-proof/ ) Here's Why State Election Officials Think Voter Fraud Is a Serious Problem ( http://dailysignal.com/2017/02/17/heres-why-state-election-officials-thi... ) Documented Voter Fraud in US ( http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/ViewSubCategory.asp?id=2216 ) No, voter fraud isn't a myth: 10 cases where it's all too real ( http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/oct/17/no-voter-fraud-isnt-myth... ) Non-US citizen gets eight years for voter fraud in Texas after "Sucessfully Illegally Voted for at least Five Times" in Dallas county, a "Sanctuary" county( http://www.theblaze.com/news/2017/02/09/non-us-citizen-gets-eight-years-... ) Democratic party operatives tell us how to successfully commit voter fraud on a massive scale ( http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2016/10/james-okeefe-rigging-elections-d... ) Texas Rigged? Reports Of Voting Machines Switching Votes To Hillary In Texas( http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-25/texas-rigged-first-reports-voti... ) Voting Machine "Irregularities" Reported in Utah, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, & North Carolina ( http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-11-08/voting-machine-irregularities-r... ) Video: Machine Refuses to Allow Vote For Trump in Pennsylvania ( http://www.infowars.com/video-machine-refuses-to-allow-vote-for-trump-in... ) Electoral fraud ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_fraud ) Voter fraud ( https://ballotpedia.org/Voter_fraud ) Sanctuary Cities Continue to Obstruct Enforcement, Threaten Public Safety( http://cis.org/Sanctuary-Cities-Map ) List of Sanctuary cities( http://www.apsanlaw.com/law-246.List-of-Sanctuary-cities.html ) Map Shows Sanctuary City Islands of Blue In Sea of Red ( http://www.infowars.com/map-shows-sanctuary-city-islands-of-blue-in-sea-... )

Chris Dakota -> wanglee , Feb 20, 2017 10:59 PM

I hit some long click bait about famous people IQ

Barack Obama 140

Donald Trump 156

Trump knows whats coming. Rush Limbaugh said "I've known Trump for a long time, he is a winner and I am sure none of this phases him at all. The media didn't create him, the media can't destroy him."

CheapBastard -> Darktarra , Feb 20, 2017 10:19 PM

Flynn has been there for several years. If he was such a threat why did they not take action sooner since Soweeto appointed him in 2012? It must be that Soweto Obama is his spy buddy then, both of them in league with the Russians since Obama has been with Flynn for a much longer time he had to know if something was up.

The entire Russian spy story is a complete Fake news rouse.

I am wondering what they'll say tomorrow to draw attention awya form the muslim riots in Sweden. If the news of Muslim riots in Sweden, then Trump will be even more vindicated and the MSM will look even more stupid and Fake.

Chupacabra-322 -> CheapBastard , Feb 20, 2017 10:54 PM

The Deep State has accentually lost control of the Intelligence Community via its Agents / Operatives & Presstitute Media vehicle's to Gas Light the Masses.

So what Criminals at large Obama, Clapper & Lynch have done 17 days prior to former CEO Criminal Obama leaving office was to Decentralize & weaken the NSA. As a result, Intel gathering was then regulated to the other 16 Intel Agencies.

Thus, taking Centuries Old Intelligence based on a vey stringent Centralized British Model, De Centralized it, filling the remaining 16 Intel Agenices with potential Spies and a Shadow Deep State Mirror Government.

All controlled from two blocks away at Pure Evil Criminal War Criminal Treasonous at large, former CEO Obama's Compound / Lair.

It's High Treason being conducted "Hidden In Plain View" by the Deep State.

It's the most Bizzare Transition of Power I've ever witnessed. Unprecedented.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-18/jay-sekulow-obama-should-be-hel ...

oncefired -> CheapBastard , Feb 20, 2017 11:07 PM

http://www.thomaswictor.com/leakers-beware/

Duc888 -> CheapBastard , Feb 20, 2017 11:11 PM

Flynn did not tell Pence that Pence's best friend was front and center on the Pizzagate list. That's what cost Flynn his job...it had fuck all do do with the elections.

[Feb 21, 2017] My Kaspersky Internet Security blocked the No Hesitations link for phishing. I trust Kaspersky more between the two.

Feb 21, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
RC AKA Darryl, Ron : , February 20, 2017 at 04:09 AM
My Kaspersky Internet Security blocked the No Hesitations link for phishing. I trust Kaspersky more between the two.
cm -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , February 20, 2017 at 11:04 AM
Probably a false positive, or the site may run ads/third party code that was flagged, which are not controlled by the author. Ads with their intrusiveness have been well-known malware vectors. Ad funded sites (or which "monetize" their brand by selling ad space) typically outsource the mechanics of inserting ads, user tracking etc. to third parties, and necessarily give them control over what content is delivered to readers. In part due to high overheads and low margins, there is not a lot of "vetting" what content gets on the page.

And of course intrusive tracking code may be legitimately viewed as malware in itself, even if it doesn't try to "infect" your system.

No reason to distrust the authors.

cm -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , February 20, 2017 at 11:25 AM
Even if you use an ad blocker, the schemes they use are necessarily heuristic and reactive in nature - basically block/avoid accessing content by known domain name, URL patterns, common "standard" image sizes and other tells, known suspicious patterns in programmable content, etc.

It comes with the usual heuristic-detection/classification problem - you can increase the result rate only by increasing the error, and you can only choose whether you want to err on the side of more false positives or false negatives (misses). This is because of the forced binary outcome (block/let through, or flag/don't flag).

Usually the algorithm computes some sort of confidence score that is used to detect (and possibly reject) "inconclusive" results. If the algorithm is any good, there is a region where it accurately detects (presence or absence of the targeted feature) with high confidence. To simplify, the choice is then to map low confidence scores to "detect" (more security) or "not detect" (more convenience).

[Feb 20, 2017] Scottish Court Awards Damages For CCTV Camera Pointed At Neighbor's House

Feb 20, 2017 | yro.slashdot.org
(boingboing.net) 95 Posted by BeauHD on Thursday February 16, 2017 @07:05PM from the psychosocial-distress dept. AmiMoJo quotes a report from BoingBoing: Edinburgh's Nahid Akram installed a CCTV system that let him record his downstairs neighbors Debbie and Tony Woolley in their back garden, capturing both images and audio of their private conversations, with a system that had the capacity to record continuously for five days. A Scottish court has ruled that the distress caused by their neighbor's camera entitled the Woolleys to $21,000 (17,000 British Pounds) in damages , without the need for them to demonstrate any actual financial loss. The judgment builds on a 2015 English court ruling against Google for spying on logged out Safari users, where the users were not required to show financial losses to receive compensation for private surveillance.

[Feb 20, 2017] 4 Ways to Send Email Attachment from Linux Command Line

Feb 20, 2017 | www.tecmint.com

mail is part of the mailutils (On Debian ) and mailx (On RedHat ) package and it is used to process messages on the command line.

$ sudo apt-get install mailutils
# yum install mailx

Now its time to send an email attachment using mail command a shown.

$ echo 
"Message Body Here"
 | mail -s 
"Subject Here"
 user@example.com -A backup.zip

In the above command, the flag:

  1. -s – specifies the message subject.
  2. -A – helps to attach a file.

You can as well send an existing message from a file as follows:

$ mail -s "Subject here" -t user@example.com -A backup.zip < message.txt
2. Using mutt Command

mutt is a popular, lightweight command line email client for Linux .

If you do not have it on your system, type the command below to install it:

$ sudo apt-get install mutt
# yum install mutt

You can send an email with attachment using the mutt command below.

$ echo 
"Message Body Here"
 | mutt -s 
"Subject Here"
 -a backup.zip user@example.com

where the option:

  1. -s – indicates the message subject.
  2. -a – identifies the attachment(s).

Read more about Mutt – A Command Line Email Client to Send Mails from Terminal

3. Using mailx Command

mailx works more like the mutt command and it it also a part of mailutils (On Debian) package.

$ sudo apt-get install mailutils
# yum install mailx

Now send the attachment mail from the command-line using mailx command.

$ echo 
"Message Body Here"
 | mailx -s 
"Subject Here"
 -a backup.zip user@example.com
4. Using mpack Command

mpack encodes the named file in one or more MIME messages and sends the message to one or more recipients, or writes it to a named file or set of files, or posts it to a set of newsgroups.

$ sudo apt-get install mpack
# yum install mpack

To send a message with attachment, run the command below.

$ mpack -s "Subject here" file user@example.com

That's all! Do you have in mind any other methods of sending emails with attachment from the Linux terminal, that are not mentioned in the list above? Let us know in the comments.

[Feb 15, 2017] Flynn Resignation Is a Surveillance State Coup Nightmare

The globalist mafia is trying to destroy Trump. There might be the same part of intelligence community which is still loyal to Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Still Flynn discussing sanctions, which could have been a violation of an 18th century law, the Logan Act, that bars unauthorized citizens from brokering deals with foreign governments involved in disputes with the United States.
Keith Kellogg links with Oracle my be as asset to Trump team.
Feb 15, 2017 | www.breitbart.com

As far back as the passage of the Patriot Act after 9/11, civil libertarians worried about the surveillance state, the Panopticon, the erosion of privacy rights and due process in the name of national security.

Paranoid fantasies were floated that President George W. Bush was monitoring the library cards of political dissidents. Civil libertarians hailed NSA contractor Edward Snowden as a hero, or at least accepted him as a necessary evil, for exposing the extent of Internet surveillance under President Barack Obama.

Will civil libertarians now speak up for former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, whose career has been destroyed with a barrage of leaked wiretaps? Does anyone care if those leaks were accurate or legal?

Over the weekend, a few honest observers of the Flynn imbroglio noted that none of the strategically leaked intercepts of his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak proved he actually did anything wrong .

The media fielded accusations that Flynn discussed lifting the Obama administration's sanctions on Russia – a transgression that would have been a serious violation of pre-inauguration protocol at best, and a prosecutable offense at worst. Flynn ostensibly sealed his fate by falsely assuring Vice President Mike Pence he had no such discussions with Kislyak, prompting Pence to issue a robust defense of Flynn that severely embarrassed Pence in retrospect.

On Tuesday, Eli Lake of Bloomberg News joined the chorus of skeptics who said the hive of anonymous leakers infesting the Trump administration never leaked anything that proved Flynn lied to Pence:

He says in his resignation letter that he did not deliberately leave out elements of his conversations with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak when he recounted them to Vice President Mike Pence. The New York Times and Washington Post reported that the transcript of the phone call reviewed over the weekend by the White House could be read different ways. One White House official with knowledge of the conversations told me that the Russian ambassador raised the sanctions to Flynn and that Flynn responded that the Trump team would be taking office in a few weeks and would review Russia policy and sanctions . That's neither illegal nor improper.

Lake also noted that leaks of sensitive national security information, such as the transcripts of Flynn's phone calls to Kislyak, are extremely rare. In their rush to collect a scalp from the Trump administration, the media forgot to tell its readers how unusual and alarming the Flynn-quisition was:

It's very rare that reporters are ever told about government-monitored communications of U.S. citizens, let alone senior U.S. officials. The last story like this to hit Washington was in 2009 when Jeff Stein, then of CQ, reported on intercepted phone calls between a senior Aipac lobbyist and Jane Harman, who at the time was a Democratic member of Congress.

Normally intercepts of U.S. officials and citizens are some of the most tightly held government secrets. This is for good reason. Selectively disclosing details of private conversations monitored by the FBI or NSA gives the permanent state the power to destroy reputations from the cloak of anonymity. This is what police states do.

In the past it was considered scandalous for senior U.S. officials to even request the identities of U.S. officials incidentally monitored by the government (normally they are redacted from intelligence reports). John Bolton's nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations was derailed in 2006 after the NSA confirmed he had made 10 such requests when he was Undersecretary of State for Arms Control in George W. Bush's first term. The fact that the intercepts of Flynn's conversations with Kislyak appear to have been widely distributed inside the government is a red flag.

While President Trump contemplated Flynn's fate on Monday evening, the Wall Street Journal suggested: "How about asking if the spooks listening to Mr. Flynn obeyed the law?" Among the questions the WSJ posed was whether intelligence agents secured proper FISA court orders for the surveillance of Flynn.

That s the sort of question that convulsed the entire political spectrum, from liberals to libertarians, after the Snowden revelations. Not long ago, both Democrats and Republicans were deeply concerned about accountability and procedural integrity for the sprawling surveillance apparatus developed by our law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Those are among the most serious concerns of the Information Age, and they should not be cast aside in a mad dash to draw some partisan blood.

There are several theories as to exactly who brought Flynn down and why. Was it an internal White House power struggle, the work of Obama administration holdovers, or the alligators of the "Deep State" lunging to take a bite from the president who promised to "drain the swamp?"

The Washington Free Beacon has sources who say Flynn's resignation is "the culmination of a secret, months-long campaign by former Obama administration confidantes to handicap President Donald Trump's national security apparatus and preserve the nuclear deal with Iran."

Flynn has prominently opposed that deal. According to the Free Beacon, this "small task force of Obama loyalists" are ready to waylay anyone in the Trump administration who threatens the Iran deal, their efforts coordinated by the sleazy Obama adviser who boasted of his ability to manipulate the press by feeding them lies, Ben Rhodes.

Some observers are chucking at the folly of Michael Flynn daring to take on the intelligence community, and paying the price for his reckless impudence. That is not funny – it is terrifying. In fact, it is the nightmare of the rogue NSA come to life, the horror story that kept privacy advocates tossing in their sheets for years.

Michael Flynn was appointed by the duly elected President of the United States. He certainly should not have been insulated from criticism, but if he was brought down by entrenched, unelected agency officials, it is nearly a coup – especially if, as Eli Lake worried on Twitter, Flynn's resignation inspires further attacks with even higher-ranking targets:

This was a major error for @Reince & @mike_pence It's now open season on this administration from without and within. #FlynnResignation

- Eli Lake (@EliLake) February 14, 2017

Lake's article caught the eye of President Trump, who endorsed his point that intelligence and law enforcement agencies should not interfere in U.S. politics:

Thank you to Eli Lake of The Bloomberg View – "The NSA & FBI should not interfere in our politics and is" Very serious situation for USA

- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2017

On the other hand, Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard openly endorsed the Deep State overthrowing the American electorate and overturning the results of the 2016 election:

Obviously strongly prefer normal democratic and constitutional politics. But if it comes to it, prefer the deep state to the Trump state.

- Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) February 14, 2017

Among the many things hideously wrong with this sentiment is that the American people know absolutely nothing about the leakers who brought Flynn down, and might be lining up their next White House targets at this very moment. We have no way to evaluate their motives or credibility. We didn't vote for them, and we will have no opportunity to vote them out of office if we dissent from their agenda. As mentioned above, we do not know if the material they are leaking is accurate .

Byron York of the Washington Examiner addressed the latter point by calling for full disclosure:

Important that entire transcript of Flynn-Kislyak conversation be released. Leakers have already cherrypicked. Public needs to see it all.

- Byron York (@ByronYork) February 14, 2017

That is no less important with Flynn's resignation in hand. We still need to know the full story of his downfall. The American people deserve to know who is assaulting the government they voted for in 2016. They deserve protection from the next attempt to manipulate our government with cherry picked leaks.

They also deserve some intellectual consistency from those who have long and loudly worried about the emergence of a surveillance state, and from conservatives who claim to value the rule of law. Unknown persons with a mysterious agenda just made strategic use of partial information from a surveillance program of uncertain legality to take out a presidential adviser.

Whether it's an Obama shadow government staging a Beltway insurrection, or Deep State officials protecting their turf, this is the nightmare scenario of the post-Snowden era or are we not having that nightmare anymore, if we take partisan pleasure in the outcome?

[Feb 15, 2017] Google, Youtube and net neutarality

Feb 15, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Eureka Springs , February 15, 2017 at 7:22 am

Net neutrality has always been confined to the narrowest of meanings to a point of being self-defeating by simply self-kettling ourselves into such limited fights/expectations. I know you coastal and big city elites (that's half snark) will never understand much more empathize or rally with us flyover deplorables who are limited to 10 gigs a month no matter what provider we use, no matter how much we pay. I recently read that most homes with fiber now utilize over a thousand gigs a month that one HD movie can be much more bandwidth than my entire monthly 70 bucks can buy.

Over twenty years ago the entire U.S. should have established high speed affordable unlimited fiber to every home on the grid and that's where the argument should be today. It covers the neutrality issue and so, so very much more. And it is far more inclusive of many more people who would benefit in so many ways. It's way past time to remove the internet highway system. Separate the content providers, the monitors, data mining, from the public highway system itself. That's where the beginning of neutrality should begin.

So yes, point out the most egregious hypocrites in the misleadership class, but don't let them all win by keeping us divided and losing within the extremely limited confines of their argument.

oh , February 15, 2017 at 8:59 am

Among the many promises that Barry broke was the one to provide hi speed internet. One grifter follows another!
We the people need to set some discrete goals and protest. Calling or writing to the Congress critters will not work. We need to storm their office on behalf each issue.

Sally , February 15, 2017 at 2:14 pm

"Separate the content providers, the monitors, data mining, from the public highway system itself. That's where the beginning of neutrality should begin."

That is the key point.

Trump would be an idiot if he allowed the likes of Google/UTube, Facebook, big tech boys to be able to start rigging the content because his campaign relied hugely on the Internet. A lot of his support by-passed the traditional TV/Newspaper media. I heard that Twitter are apparantly using ways and means to make his Twitter acccount only see hostile responses for the first 100 or so responses. Have no idea if that's true but some of these firms are getting very close to utility status.

Anti trust laws should be wheeled out. They are already on the books.

likbez , February 15, 2017 at 2:45 pm

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Companies such as Netflix are essentially subsidized by telecom providers. So this is a model that somewhat reminds me of Uber.

The same is true for Google (especially YouTube part of it) and Facebook. When somebody tries to download 4.7Gb movie that affects other people on the same subnet,

On the other hand if, for example, popular blogs are forced to pay per gigabyte of consumed bandwidth, that is as close to censorship as we can get. 1000 gigabytes per month that is consumed by a medium site even at $1 per gigabyte is $1000 per month rent. And guess who will be able to afford it.

There are a lot complex nuances here. For example, everybody who use wireless at home are not in the same group as who are using landlines (fiber or cable) even if they live in metropolitan areas. They are closer to flyover country residents.

Also as soon as something is not metered some sophisticated forms of abuse emerge. For example, some corporations are abusing public networks by switching to "home office" model which dramatically cuts the required office and parking space. Several corporations built their new headquarters with the assumption that only half of employees are present at any given day (so called hotel model). When employees view some clueless corporate video conference via VPN that affects their neighborhood the same way as heavy Netflix users. Excessive WebEx videoconferences have a similar effect.

Quanka , February 15, 2017 at 8:08 am

+1 to Eureka Springs.

Go back to Bill Clinton's administration when Verizon was a fledgling company and the government gave massive subsidies to the Telecoms to do exactly what Eureka Springs notes: bring fast, reliable internet service across the country. Fast forward to today - those companies took all the subsidies, didn't build out shit for network capacity, and now spend all their money lobbying to give themselves more power and limit net neutrality.

If there were a microcosm for this whole problem, this is it. Dems give big subsidies to corporate players, dont track the work/take for granted that they "did something" and then get caught flat footed. Now we are all left to battle it out for the scraps. Exactly where we were 20 years ago.

Watching the Oroville Dam, juxtaposing with all this "infrastructure spending" talk - everyone should be weary b/c we've been here before with Telecoms.

cocomaan , February 15, 2017 at 9:12 am

+1 to both of you!

It reminds me of the land grant system that enabled the railroad industry to thrive.

Guess what happened to Southern Pacific Railroad Company, who benefited greatly from this government intervention? Later, they turned into Sprint ( S outhern P acific R ailroad I nternal N etworking T elephony)!

Scott , February 15, 2017 at 9:41 am

I really wish I could get more worked up about Net Neutrality, but I can't. I'm deeply concerned about the high prices and lack of availability in much of the country, but I find that much of the debate boils down to conflict between Silicon Valley and the Telcos about who controls the internet. Content providers (Facebook, Google, Netflix) want to use the network effects to manipulate public opinion in their favored version of Net Neutrality, which seems to involve universal unmetered broadband, which ISPs must build out to meet demand, shifting costs from the providers to the ISPs, while profits go the other way. Meanwhile the ISPs do the tricks described in the post and overchange customers for poor service. I have little sympathy for either group.

My general belief is that broadband should be cheap, universal, regulated, and, yes, metered. The latter would encourage high volume users and content providers to change their behavior and technology to use bandwidth more efficiently, which would reduce the size of the infrastructure needed over the long-term. I would also include search neutrality at the same time, but for some reason that doesn't have the same level of support among the technology industry.

[Feb 12, 2017] Washington Post Caught Spreading More Fake News About Russian Hackers Zero Hedge

Notable quotes:
"... Use a linux system Kirk, no need for firewalls, Firefox with duckduckgo search, set options to clear after every session, Adblocker, it's not Tor, but the best open option. ..."
"... I am using DuckDuckGo.Com for search (and looking at YaCy) ..."
"... I also use Firefox for my browser, with AdBlockplus, Flasblock, EFF's Privacy Badger, and a password management app called LastPass (which gives me unique, 16-character, random passwords for each of my sites). ..."
"... Another thing to suggest is to use a private e-mail. ..."
"... I long ago gave up yahoo and g-mail(never had one) ..."
Dec 31, 2016 | www.zerohedge.com

Readers of the Washington Post received some alarming news yesterday when the paper published a story alleging that those pesky "Russian hackers" were up to their no good tricks again and had managed to "penetrate the U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont."

Kirk2NCC1701, Dec 31, 2016 9:17 PM
Not surprised. I wonder if ZH users are also under cyber attack. Today I noticed that my desktop browser (Firefox and Chrome) deny me access to any ZH link or pages. I get the "URL does not exist". Have to use Tor browser to get to ZH.

Anyone know what's going on, and what the RX is? Thanks.

refill6times Kirk2NCC1701 , Dec 31, 2016 9:31 PM
Use a linux system Kirk, no need for firewalls, Firefox with duckduckgo search, set options to clear after every session, Adblocker, it's not Tor, but the best open option.

I use cinnimon 17.3, but your flavor may vary.

Zarbo refill6times , Dec 31, 2016 9:47 PM
Good R x , however I would use the firewall -- best to not tempt fate. There are rootkits for Linux.

That said, it is stable and quite usable.

I am using DuckDuckGo.Com for search (and looking at YaCy), also using TutaNova.Com encrypted email, looking at Frendica to replace Facebook, using http://Gab.ai as a Twitter replacement, Thunderbird (replace Outlook) with Enigmail for encryption and email signing.

I also use Firefox for my browser, with AdBlockplus, Flasblock, EFF's Privacy Badger, and a password management app called LastPass (which gives me unique, 16-character, random passwords for each of my sites).

The open, free, reliable solutions are out there.

Side note: Enable two-factor login for all your accounts, you won't regret it.

peddling-fiction Zarbo , Dec 31, 2016 10:29 PM
You always need to enable the Ubuntu uncomplicated firewall, or else. All that is needed is to type the following command:

> sudo ufw enable

refill6times Zarbo , Dec 31, 2016 11:36 PM
Thank you Zarbo, any help and sugestions that don't come from Microsoft are best.

I saw on another thread a poster who asked how to stop the annoying ads, someone replied to get firefox, and he replied " how do I get that ?"

I feel bad as I replied to use duckduckgo, I suppose it was sarcasm.

Another thing to suggest is to use a private e-mail.

I long ago gave up yahoo and g-mail(never had one)

Akzed Kirk2NCC1701 , Dec 31, 2016 9:35 PM
No problems detected here. Over.
rejected Kirk2NCC1701 , Dec 31, 2016 10:06 PM
Use their IP Addr if you suspect meddling. ZH has 2:

34.192.18.153
52.6.109.9

A nice site to find IP of a Host Name is: http://www.hcidata.info/host2ip.htm

Be sure to clear history and do that twice. Clear History.... Shut down FF,,, Start FF,,, Clear History.

Linux is a good system if your not married to MS Windows for some reason.

Happy New Year to Everyone....

[Feb 07, 2017] How the CIA made Google

Feb 07, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Pinto Currency -> J S Bach , Feb 6, 2017 10:47 PM

How the CIA made Google

https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/how-the-cia-made-google-e836451a...

918pigpen -> buckstopshere , Feb 6, 2017 10:42 PM

People ask me why I refused to use google many years ago.

THIS!!!

Yars Revenge , Feb 6, 2017 10:39 PM

(((GOOGLE)))

rlouis , Feb 6, 2017 10:45 PM

So, the alphabet company, aka CIA is funding this?

wisefool , Feb 6, 2017 10:45 PM

Who would have think some kids working on bublesort 2.0 (1980s era search engine tech) could have bootstrapped themselves to the biggest brand in the world. Until facebook came along.

They did not get a 1 million dollar loan from their dad like donald trump did. They might have got some money from big brother. But we don't talk about that in polite company.

Neochrome , Feb 6, 2017 10:48 PM

If you're a thief, it's your "duty" to break the law.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/13/google-tax-dodge_n_2292077.html

Google's chairman says he is "proud" of the way his company avoids paying taxes.

"It's called capitalism," Eric Schmidt told Bloomberg in a Wednesday article. "We are proudly capitalistic. I'm not confused about this."

Google's effective U.S. tax rate is unclear. Citizens for Tax Justice did not analyze Google in a 2011 study because Google reports most of its profits as foreign, even though that may not be true.

[Jan 21, 2017] Obama promised to reverse the growth of the surveillance state. He did the opposite.

Notable quotes:
"... President Obama will go down in history as the man who helped entrench history's largest and most powerful surveillance state ..."
"... Obama didn't just fall short of progressive hopes - he went in the opposite direction ..."
"... he broke a campaign promise and voted for a bill expanding government surveillance and granting immunity to telecommunications companies who helped Bush spy on Americans. ..."
"... Upon becoming president, the already vast surveillance powers of the United States have expanded . By 2010, the NSA was collecting 1.7 billion emails, phone calls, and other types of communications. By 2012, XKeyscore - which sweeps up "everything a user typically does on the internet" - was storing as much as forty-one billion records in thirty days. This gargantuan volume of data has the ironic effect of making it harder to detect security threats. ..."
"... The use of secret laws - hidden from public eyes and often related to surveillance activities - shot up under Obama. The administration tried (and failed) to force Apple to insert security flaws in its phones, to give law enforcement a potential "back door" around encryption. ..."
"... But this would not have happened - and the scope of US surveillance would have stayed secret - had it not been for the disclosures by Edward Snowden, whom Obama criticized and refused to pardon in the waning days of his administration, even as he claimed to " welcome " a debate on surveillance. ..."
Jan 21, 2017 | www.jacobinmag.com

President Obama will go down in history as the man who helped entrench history's largest and most powerful surveillance state, providing it with a liberal legitimacy that left it largely immune from criticism during his two terms. As President Trump takes the reins of that surveillance state's power in whatever terrifying ways he chooses, we should remember that it was Obama who paved the way for him.

Obama has often been painted as a disappointing president, one who reached for the stars but ultimately, whether due to Republican obstructionism or the disappointing realities of governing, fell short. In the area of state surveillance, however, Obama didn't just fall short of progressive hopes - he went in the opposite direction.

Obama built his career opposing the Patriot Act and Bush-era secrecy. He made this opposition a centerpiece of his presidential campaign, promising "no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime . . . No more ignoring the law when it is convenient."

The first sign of his waning commitment came three months after a glowing Times op-ed declared him potentially the first civil libertarian president, when he broke a campaign promise and voted for a bill expanding government surveillance and granting immunity to telecommunications companies who helped Bush spy on Americans.

Upon becoming president, the already vast surveillance powers of the United States have expanded . By 2010, the NSA was collecting 1.7 billion emails, phone calls, and other types of communications. By 2012, XKeyscore - which sweeps up "everything a user typically does on the internet" - was storing as much as forty-one billion records in thirty days. This gargantuan volume of data has the ironic effect of making it harder to detect security threats.

The use of secret laws - hidden from public eyes and often related to surveillance activities - shot up under Obama. The administration tried (and failed) to force Apple to insert security flaws in its phones, to give law enforcement a potential "back door" around encryption.

It extended controversial Patriot Act provisions year after year. Less than a week before Donald Trump, a man he has called "unfit" for office, took power, Obama expanded the NSA's power to share its data with other agencies. Meanwhile, the FBI is paying Best Buy employees to snoop through your computer.

Where there have been privacy wins on Obama's watch, they have largely been inadvertent. The NSA collects a much smaller proportion of Americans' phone records today than it did eleven years ago because cell phone use has exploded. Furthermore, the USA Freedom Act passed in 2015, ending bulk collection of US phone records ( only of phone records, it must be said), something Obama tried to claim as part of his legacy in his farewell speech.

But this would not have happened - and the scope of US surveillance would have stayed secret - had it not been for the disclosures by Edward Snowden, whom Obama criticized and refused to pardon in the waning days of his administration, even as he claimed to " welcome " a debate on surveillance.

All of this happened under a liberal former constitutional law professor. The question must be asked: What will follow under Trump?

-Branko Marcetic

[Jan 18, 2017] Mainstream Media's Russian Bogeymen

Jan 18, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

The mainstream hysteria over Russia has led to dubious or downright false stories that have deepened the New Cold War

by Gareth Porter , January 16, 2017 Print This | Share This In the middle of a major domestic crisis over the U.S. charge that Russia had interfered with the US election, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) triggered a brief national media hysteria by creating and spreading a bogus story of Russian hacking into US power infrastructure.

DHS had initiated the now-discredited tale of a hacked computer at the Burlington, Vermont Electricity Department by sending the utility's managers misleading and alarming information, then leaked a story they certainly knew to be false and continued to put out a misleading line to the media.

Even more shocking, however, DHS had previously circulated a similar bogus story of Russian hacking of a Springfield, Illinois water pump in November 2011.

The story of how DHS twice circulated false stories of Russian efforts to sabotage US "critical infrastructure" is a cautionary tale of how senior leaders in a bureaucracy-on-the-make take advantage of every major political development to advance its own interests, with scant regard for the truth.

The DHS had carried out a major public campaign to focus on an alleged Russian threat to US power infrastructure in early 2016. The campaign took advantage of a US accusation of a Russian cyber-attack against the Ukrainian power infrastructure in December 2015 to promote one of the agency's major functions - guarding against cyber-attacks on America's infrastructure.

Beginning in late March 2016, DHS and FBI conducted a series of 12 unclassified briefings for electric power infrastructure companies in eight cities titled, "Ukraine Cyber Attack: implications for US stakeholders." The DHS declared publicly, "These events represent one of the first known physical impacts to critical infrastructure which resulted from cyber-attack."

That statement conveniently avoided mentioning that the first cases of such destruction of national infrastructure from cyber-attacks were not against the United States, but were inflicted on Iran by the Obama administration and Israel in 2009 and 2012.

Beginning in October 2016, the DHS emerged as one of the two most important players – along with the CIA-in the political drama over the alleged Russian effort to tilt the 2016 election toward Donald Trump. Then on Dec. 29, DHS and FBI distributed a "Joint Analysis Report" to US power utilities across the country with what it claimed were "indicators" of a Russian intelligence effort to penetrate and compromise US computer networks, including networks related to the presidential election, that it called "GRIZZLY STEPPE."

The report clearly conveyed to the utilities that the "tools and infrastructure" it said had been used by Russian intelligence agencies to affect the election were a direct threat to them as well. However, according to Robert M. Lee, the founder and CEO of the cyber-security company Dragos, who had developed one of the earliest US government programs for defense against cyber-attacks on US infrastructure systems, the report was certain to mislead the recipients.

"Anyone who uses it would think they were being impacted by Russian operations," said Lee. "We ran through the indicators in the report and found that a high percentage were false positives."

Lee and his staff found only two of a long list of malware files that could be linked to Russian hackers without more specific data about timing. Similarly a large proportion of IP addresses listed could be linked to "GRIZZLY STEPPE" only for certain specific dates, which were not provided.

The Intercept discovered, in fact, that 42 percent of the 876 IP addresses listed in the report as having been used by Russian hackers were exit nodes for the Tor Project, a system that allows bloggers, journalists and others – including some military entities – to keep their Internet communications private.

Lee said the DHS staff that worked on the technical information in the report is highly competent, but the document was rendered useless when officials classified and deleted some key parts of the report and added other material that shouldn't have been in it. He believes the DHS issued the report "for a political purpose," which was to "show that the DHS is protecting you."

Planting the Story, Keeping it Alive

Upon receiving the DHS-FBI report the Burlington Electric Company network security team immediately ran searches of its computer logs using the lists of IP addresses it had been provided. When one of IP addresses cited in the report as an indicator of Russian hacking was found on the logs, the utility immediately called DHS to inform it as it had been instructed to do by DHS.

In fact, the IP address on the Burlington Electric Company's computer was simply the Yahoo e-mail server, according to Lee, so it could not have been a legitimate indicator of an attempted cyber-intrusion. That should have been the end of the story. But the utility did not track down the IP address before reporting it to DHS. It did, however, expect DHS to treat the matter confidentially until it had thoroughly investigated and resolved the issue.

"DHS wasn't supposed to release the details," said Lee. "Everybody was supposed to keep their mouth shut."

Instead, a DHS official called The Washington Post and passed on word that one of the indicators of Russian hacking of the DNC had been found on the Burlington utility's computer network. The Post failed to follow the most basic rule of journalism, relying on its DHS source instead of checking with the Burlington Electric Department first. The result was the Post's sensational Dec. 30 story under the headline "Russian hackers penetrated US electricity grid through a utility in Vermont, US officials say."

DHS official evidently had allowed the Post to infer that the Russians hack had penetrated the grid without actually saying so. The Post story said the Russians "had not actively used the code to disrupt operations of the utility, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss a security matter," but then added, and that "the penetration of the nation's electrical grid is significant because it represents a potentially serious vulnerability."

The electric company quickly issued a firm denial that the computer in question was connected to the power grid. The Post was forced to retract, in effect, its claim that the electricity grid had been hacked by the Russians. But it stuck by its story that the utility had been the victim of a Russian hack for another three days before admitting that no such evidence of a hack existed.

The day after the story was published, the DHS leadership continued to imply, without saying so explicitly, that the Burlington utility had been hacked by Russians. Assistant Secretary for Pubic Affairs J. Todd Breasseale gave CNN a statement that the "indicators" from the malicious software found on the computer at Burlington Electric were a "match" for those on the DNC computers.

As soon as DHS checked the IP address, however, it knew that it was a Yahoo cloud server and therefore not an indicator that the same team that allegedly hacked the DNC had gotten into the Burlington utility's laptop. DHS also learned from the utility that the laptop in question had been infected by malware called "neutrino," which had never been used in "GRIZZLY STEPPE."

Only days later did the DHS reveal those crucial facts to the Post. And the DHS was still defending its joint report to the Post, according to Lee, who got part of the story from Post sources. The DHS official was arguing that it had "led to a discovery," he said. "The second is, 'See, this is encouraging people to run indicators.'"

Original DHS False Hacking Story

The false Burlington Electric hack scare is reminiscent of an earlier story of Russian hacking of a utility for which the DHS was responsible as well. In November 2011, it reported an "intrusion" into a Springfield, Illinois water district computer that similarly turned out to be a fabrication.

Like the Burlington fiasco, the false report was preceded by a DHS claim that US infrastructure systems were already under attack. In October 2011, acting DHS deputy undersecretary Greg Schaffer was quoted by The Washington Post as warning that "our adversaries" are "knocking on the doors of these systems." And Schaffer added, "In some cases, there have been intrusions." He did not specify when, where or by whom, and no such prior intrusions have ever been documented.

On Nov. 8, 2011, a water pump belonging to the Curran-Gardner township water district near Springfield, Illinois, burned out after sputtering several times in previous months. The repair team brought in to fix it found a Russian IP address on its log from five months earlier. That IP address was actually from a cell phone call from the contractor who had set up the control system for the pump and who was vacationing in Russia with his family, so his name was in the log by the address.

Without investigating the IP address itself, the utility reported the IP address and the breakdown of the water pump to the Environmental Protection Agency, which in turn passed it on to the Illinois Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center, also called a fusion center composed of Illinois State Police and representatives from the FBI, DHS and other government agencies.

On Nov. 10 – just two days after the initial report to EPA – the fusion center produced a report titled "Public Water District Cyber Intrusion" suggesting a Russian hacker had stolen the identity of someone authorized to use the computer and had hacked into the control system causing the water pump to fail.

The contractor whose name was on the log next to the IP address later told Wired magazine that one phone call to him would have laid the matter to rest. But the DHS, which was the lead in putting the report out, had not bothered to make even that one obvious phone call before opining that it must have been a Russian hack.

The fusion center "intelligence report," circulated by DHS Office of Intelligence and Research, was picked up by a cyber-security blogger, who called The Washington Post and read the item to a reporter. Thus the Post published the first sensational story of a Russian hack into a US infrastructure on Nov. 18, 2011.

After the real story came out, DHS disclaimed responsibility for the report, saying that it was the fusion center's responsibility. But a Senate subcommittee investigation revealed in a report a year later that even after the initial report had been discredited, DHS had not issued any retraction or correction to the report, nor had it notified the recipients about the truth.

DHS officials responsible for the false report told Senate investigators such reports weren't intended to be "finished intelligence," implying that the bar for accuracy of the information didn't have to be very high. They even claimed that report was a "success" because it had done what "what it's supposed to do – generate interest."

Both the Burlington and Curran-Gardner episodes underline a central reality of the political game of national security in the New Cold War era: major bureaucratic players like DHS have a huge political stake in public perceptions of a Russian threat, and whenever the opportunity arises to do so, they will exploit it.

Gareth Porter, an investigative historian and journalist specializing in US national security policy, received the UK-based Gellhorn Prize for journalism for 2011 for articles on the U.S. war in Afghanistan. His new book is Manufactured Crisis: the Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare . He can be contacted at porter.gareth50@gmail.com .

Reprinted from Consortium News with the author's permission.

Read more by Gareth Porter

[Jan 16, 2017] Mainstream Medias Russian Bogeymen by Gareth Porter

DHS security honchos want to justify their existence. There is not greater danger to national security then careerists in position of security professionals. Lying and exaggerating the treats to get this dollars is is what many security professionals do for living. They are essentially charlatans.
Notable quotes:
"... In the middle of a major domestic crisis over the U.S. charge that Russia had interfered with the US election, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) triggered a brief national media hysteria by creating and spreading a bogus story of Russian hacking into US power infrastructure. ..."
"... Even more shocking, however, DHS had previously circulated a similar bogus story of Russian hacking of a Springfield, Illinois water pump in November 2011. ..."
"... Beginning in late March 2016, DHS and FBI conducted a series of 12 unclassified briefings for electric power infrastructure companies in eight cities titled, "Ukraine Cyber Attack: implications for US stakeholders." The DHS declared publicly, "These events represent one of the first known physical impacts to critical infrastructure which resulted from cyber-attack." ..."
"... That statement conveniently avoided mentioning that the first cases of such destruction of national infrastructure from cyber-attacks were not against the United States, but were inflicted on Iran by the Obama administration and Israel in 2009 and 2012. ..."
"... Beginning in October 2016, the DHS emerged as one of the two most important players – along with the CIA-in the political drama over the alleged Russian effort to tilt the 2016 election toward Donald Trump. Then on Dec. 29, DHS and FBI distributed a "Joint Analysis Report" to US power utilities across the country with what it claimed were "indicators" of a Russian intelligence effort to penetrate and compromise US computer networks, including networks related to the presidential election, that it called "GRIZZLY STEPPE." ..."
"... according to Robert M. Lee, the founder and CEO of the cyber-security company Dragos, who had developed one of the earliest US government programs for defense against cyber-attacks on US infrastructure systems, the report was certain to mislead the recipients. ..."
"... "Anyone who uses it would think they were being impacted by Russian operations," said Lee. "We ran through the indicators in the report and found that a high percentage were false positives." ..."
"... The Intercept discovered, in fact, that 42 percent of the 876 IP addresses listed in the report as having been used by Russian hackers were exit nodes for the Tor Project, a system that allows bloggers, journalists and others – including some military entities – to keep their Internet communications private. ..."
"... Instead, a DHS official called The Washington Post and passed on word that one of the indicators of Russian hacking of the DNC had been found on the Burlington utility's computer network. The Post failed to follow the most basic rule of journalism, relying on its DHS source instead of checking with the Burlington Electric Department first. The result was the Post's sensational Dec. 30 story under the headline "Russian hackers penetrated US electricity grid through a utility in Vermont, US officials say." ..."
"... DHS official evidently had allowed the Post to infer that the Russians hack had penetrated the grid without actually saying so. The Post story said the Russians "had not actively used the code to disrupt operations of the utility, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss a security matter," but then added, and that "the penetration of the nation's electrical grid is significant because it represents a potentially serious vulnerability." ..."
"... The electric company quickly issued a firm denial that the computer in question was connected to the power grid. The Post was forced to retract, in effect, its claim that the electricity grid had been hacked by the Russians. But it stuck by its story that the utility had been the victim of a Russian hack for another three days before admitting that no such evidence of a hack existed. ..."
"... Only days later did the DHS reveal those crucial facts to the Post. And the DHS was still defending its joint report to the Post, according to Lee, who got part of the story from Post sources. The DHS official was arguing that it had "led to a discovery," he said. "The second is, 'See, this is encouraging people to run indicators.'" ..."
"... The false Burlington Electric hack scare is reminiscent of an earlier story of Russian hacking of a utility for which the DHS was responsible as well. In November 2011, it reported an "intrusion" into a Springfield, Illinois water district computer that similarly turned out to be a fabrication. ..."
"... The contractor whose name was on the log next to the IP address later told Wired magazine that one phone call to him would have laid the matter to rest. But the DHS, which was the lead in putting the report out, had not bothered to make even that one obvious phone call before opining that it must have been a Russian hack. ..."
Jan 16, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

The mainstream hysteria over Russia has led to dubious or downright false stories that have deepened the New Cold War

In the middle of a major domestic crisis over the U.S. charge that Russia had interfered with the US election, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) triggered a brief national media hysteria by creating and spreading a bogus story of Russian hacking into US power infrastructure.

DHS had initiated the now-discredited tale of a hacked computer at the Burlington, Vermont Electricity Department by sending the utility's managers misleading and alarming information, then leaked a story they certainly knew to be false and continued to put out a misleading line to the media.

Even more shocking, however, DHS had previously circulated a similar bogus story of Russian hacking of a Springfield, Illinois water pump in November 2011.

The story of how DHS twice circulated false stories of Russian efforts to sabotage US "critical infrastructure" is a cautionary tale of how senior leaders in a bureaucracy-on-the-make take advantage of every major political development to advance its own interests, with scant regard for the truth.

The DHS had carried out a major public campaign to focus on an alleged Russian threat to US power infrastructure in early 2016. The campaign took advantage of a US accusation of a Russian cyber-attack against the Ukrainian power infrastructure in December 2015 to promote one of the agency's major functions - guarding against cyber-attacks on America's infrastructure.

Beginning in late March 2016, DHS and FBI conducted a series of 12 unclassified briefings for electric power infrastructure companies in eight cities titled, "Ukraine Cyber Attack: implications for US stakeholders." The DHS declared publicly, "These events represent one of the first known physical impacts to critical infrastructure which resulted from cyber-attack."

That statement conveniently avoided mentioning that the first cases of such destruction of national infrastructure from cyber-attacks were not against the United States, but were inflicted on Iran by the Obama administration and Israel in 2009 and 2012.

Beginning in October 2016, the DHS emerged as one of the two most important players – along with the CIA-in the political drama over the alleged Russian effort to tilt the 2016 election toward Donald Trump. Then on Dec. 29, DHS and FBI distributed a "Joint Analysis Report" to US power utilities across the country with what it claimed were "indicators" of a Russian intelligence effort to penetrate and compromise US computer networks, including networks related to the presidential election, that it called "GRIZZLY STEPPE."

The report clearly conveyed to the utilities that the "tools and infrastructure" it said had been used by Russian intelligence agencies to affect the election were a direct threat to them as well. However, according to Robert M. Lee, the founder and CEO of the cyber-security company Dragos, who had developed one of the earliest US government programs for defense against cyber-attacks on US infrastructure systems, the report was certain to mislead the recipients.

"Anyone who uses it would think they were being impacted by Russian operations," said Lee. "We ran through the indicators in the report and found that a high percentage were false positives."

Lee and his staff found only two of a long list of malware files that could be linked to Russian hackers without more specific data about timing. Similarly a large proportion of IP addresses listed could be linked to "GRIZZLY STEPPE" only for certain specific dates, which were not provided.

The Intercept discovered, in fact, that 42 percent of the 876 IP addresses listed in the report as having been used by Russian hackers were exit nodes for the Tor Project, a system that allows bloggers, journalists and others – including some military entities – to keep their Internet communications private.

Lee said the DHS staff that worked on the technical information in the report is highly competent, but the document was rendered useless when officials classified and deleted some key parts of the report and added other material that shouldn't have been in it. He believes the DHS issued the report "for a political purpose," which was to "show that the DHS is protecting you."

Planting the Story, Keeping it Alive

Upon receiving the DHS-FBI report the Burlington Electric Company network security team immediately ran searches of its computer logs using the lists of IP addresses it had been provided. When one of IP addresses cited in the report as an indicator of Russian hacking was found on the logs, the utility immediately called DHS to inform it as it had been instructed to do by DHS.

In fact, the IP address on the Burlington Electric Company's computer was simply the Yahoo e-mail server, according to Lee, so it could not have been a legitimate indicator of an attempted cyber-intrusion. That should have been the end of the story. But the utility did not track down the IP address before reporting it to DHS. It did, however, expect DHS to treat the matter confidentially until it had thoroughly investigated and resolved the issue.

"DHS wasn't supposed to release the details," said Lee. "Everybody was supposed to keep their mouth shut."

Instead, a DHS official called The Washington Post and passed on word that one of the indicators of Russian hacking of the DNC had been found on the Burlington utility's computer network. The Post failed to follow the most basic rule of journalism, relying on its DHS source instead of checking with the Burlington Electric Department first. The result was the Post's sensational Dec. 30 story under the headline "Russian hackers penetrated US electricity grid through a utility in Vermont, US officials say."

DHS official evidently had allowed the Post to infer that the Russians hack had penetrated the grid without actually saying so. The Post story said the Russians "had not actively used the code to disrupt operations of the utility, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss a security matter," but then added, and that "the penetration of the nation's electrical grid is significant because it represents a potentially serious vulnerability."

The electric company quickly issued a firm denial that the computer in question was connected to the power grid. The Post was forced to retract, in effect, its claim that the electricity grid had been hacked by the Russians. But it stuck by its story that the utility had been the victim of a Russian hack for another three days before admitting that no such evidence of a hack existed.

The day after the story was published, the DHS leadership continued to imply, without saying so explicitly, that the Burlington utility had been hacked by Russians. Assistant Secretary for Pubic Affairs J. Todd Breasseale gave CNN a statement that the "indicators" from the malicious software found on the computer at Burlington Electric were a "match" for those on the DNC computers.

As soon as DHS checked the IP address, however, it knew that it was a Yahoo cloud server and therefore not an indicator that the same team that allegedly hacked the DNC had gotten into the Burlington utility's laptop. DHS also learned from the utility that the laptop in question had been infected by malware called "neutrino," which had never been used in "GRIZZLY STEPPE."

Only days later did the DHS reveal those crucial facts to the Post. And the DHS was still defending its joint report to the Post, according to Lee, who got part of the story from Post sources. The DHS official was arguing that it had "led to a discovery," he said. "The second is, 'See, this is encouraging people to run indicators.'"

Original DHS False Hacking Story

The false Burlington Electric hack scare is reminiscent of an earlier story of Russian hacking of a utility for which the DHS was responsible as well. In November 2011, it reported an "intrusion" into a Springfield, Illinois water district computer that similarly turned out to be a fabrication.

Like the Burlington fiasco, the false report was preceded by a DHS claim that US infrastructure systems were already under attack. In October 2011, acting DHS deputy undersecretary Greg Schaffer was quoted by The Washington Post as warning that "our adversaries" are "knocking on the doors of these systems." And Schaffer added, "In some cases, there have been intrusions." He did not specify when, where or by whom, and no such prior intrusions have ever been documented.

On Nov. 8, 2011, a water pump belonging to the Curran-Gardner township water district near Springfield, Illinois, burned out after sputtering several times in previous months. The repair team brought in to fix it found a Russian IP address on its log from five months earlier. That IP address was actually from a cell phone call from the contractor who had set up the control system for the pump and who was vacationing in Russia with his family, so his name was in the log by the address.

Without investigating the IP address itself, the utility reported the IP address and the breakdown of the water pump to the Environmental Protection Agency, which in turn passed it on to the Illinois Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center, also called a fusion center composed of Illinois State Police and representatives from the FBI, DHS and other government agencies.

On Nov. 10 – just two days after the initial report to EPA – the fusion center produced a report titled "Public Water District Cyber Intrusion" suggesting a Russian hacker had stolen the identity of someone authorized to use the computer and had hacked into the control system causing the water pump to fail.

The contractor whose name was on the log next to the IP address later told Wired magazine that one phone call to him would have laid the matter to rest. But the DHS, which was the lead in putting the report out, had not bothered to make even that one obvious phone call before opining that it must have been a Russian hack.

The fusion center "intelligence report," circulated by DHS Office of Intelligence and Research, was picked up by a cyber-security blogger, who called The Washington Post and read the item to a reporter. Thus the Post published the first sensational story of a Russian hack into a US infrastructure on Nov. 18, 2011.

After the real story came out, DHS disclaimed responsibility for the report, saying that it was the fusion center's responsibility. But a Senate subcommittee investigation revealed in a report a year later that even after the initial report had been discredited, DHS had not issued any retraction or correction to the report, nor had it notified the recipients about the truth.

DHS officials responsible for the false report told Senate investigators such reports weren't intended to be "finished intelligence," implying that the bar for accuracy of the information didn't have to be very high. They even claimed that report was a "success" because it had done what "what it's supposed to do – generate interest."

Both the Burlington and Curran-Gardner episodes underline a central reality of the political game of national security in the New Cold War era: major bureaucratic players like DHS have a huge political stake in public perceptions of a Russian threat, and whenever the opportunity arises to do so, they will exploit it.

Gareth Porter, an investigative historian and journalist specializing in US national security policy, received the UK-based Gellhorn Prize for journalism for 2011 for articles on the U.S. war in Afghanistan. His new book is Manufactured Crisis: the Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare . He can be contacted at porter.gareth50@gmail.com .

Reprinted from Consortium News with the author's permission.

[Jan 15, 2017] Gaius Publius Who's Blackmailing the President Why Arent Democrats Upset About It

Notable quotes:
"... William Binney,another NSA whistleblower and hero, stated on his Truthdig interview with Sheer (who talked and repeated himself way too much, not leaving much time for Binney to talk) that Snowden knew from watching what happened to the five of them (among them,Thomas Drake/currently pensionless and an apple store worker ) and that Snowden did it the only way it could be done and did the leak well by gathering so much information up there was no chance of plausible deniability. ..."
"... First they gaslight you. "There is no surveillance. You have no evidence." ..."
"... As soon as there's evidence, they downplay it. "Everyone knew there was surveillance. This is nothing new!" ..."
"... Snowden's leaks were crucial and necessary. State surveillance had been normalized long before him. He only told us it had happened. What happens next is a battle that is still being fought, despite the best efforts of people who weasel about "ambivalence". ..."
"... Exposing the workings of the deep state is necessary if we are to ever reclaim democracy, if in fact we ever had it. ..."
"... Greenwald isn't defending the Russians– he is asking for evidence so we don't have to rely on the intelligence community. ..."
Jan 15, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
HopeLB , January 14, 2017 at 5:22 pm

William Binney,another NSA whistleblower and hero, stated on his Truthdig interview with Sheer (who talked and repeated himself way too much, not leaving much time for Binney to talk) that Snowden knew from watching what happened to the five of them (among them,Thomas Drake/currently pensionless and an apple store worker ) and that Snowden did it the only way it could be done and did the leak well by gathering so much information up there was no chance of plausible deniability.

reslez , January 14, 2017 at 6:28 pm

Your "ambivalence" is one of the favorite tactics of people in CTR, who start off all their comments with "I love Bernie, but ". Here's how it works:

1. First they gaslight you. "There is no surveillance. You have no evidence."
2. As soon as there's evidence, they downplay it. "Everyone knew there was surveillance. This is nothing new!"

Snowden's leaks were crucial and necessary. State surveillance had been normalized long before him. He only told us it had happened. What happens next is a battle that is still being fought, despite the best efforts of people who weasel about "ambivalence".

Jack , January 14, 2017 at 9:29 am

SantaFe you said "his career was literally made by a document dump from guy who increasungly appears to be much more nefarious". Glenn Greenwald's "career" was made long before Snowden appeared on the scene. That's why Snowden chose him to release the documents to. He has long been known as a journalist who speaks truth to power. And what do you mean by this; " He is quickly losing credibility among many who admired him." ? Yourself? I see no reason why Greenwald should be losing credibility. Primarily what he is doing is in this particular instance is questioning the veracity of the documents being used against Trump and the means by which they are being "released". That is one of Greenwald's greatest strengths. He plays no favorites. As far as the WSJ article on Snowden, I assume you are referring to the now discredited op-ed (not an article) piece by Epstein? This self serving op-ed was clearly written by Epstein to promote his recent book and the "points" he made about Snowden have been discredited by many sources.

Michael C. , January 14, 2017 at 10:39 am

I agree with you wholeheartedly. Exposing the workings of the deep state is necessary if we are to ever reclaim democracy, if in fact we ever had it.

DJG , January 14, 2017 at 12:01 pm

Agreed: Further, the recent article in the New Yorker, in which Malcolm Gladwell (who isn't glib, of course) decides that Snowden isn't classy enough is more of the same.

Santa Fe: Greenwald losing credibility? Sorry. You just lost credibility, if you ever had any.

Donald , January 14, 2017 at 10:05 am

Speak for yourself. Greenwald isn't defending the Russians– he is asking for evidence so we don't have to rely on the intelligence community. And while Assange appears motivated by animus against Clinton, I have yet to see anything about Snowden that would make me distrust him more than the press. What I do see are a lot of centrist liberals acting like Joseph McCarthy.

And even with Assange, wikileaks has been invaluable. The mainstream press largely gored its most interesting revelations - for instance, the Clinton camp privately acknowledged that the Saudi government supports ISIS. We hear much more shooting the messenger stories about dissenters than we hear stories about the message.

Donald , January 14, 2017 at 10:14 am

Here is a link about the Isis, Saudi, Clinton story.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/hillary-clinton-wikileaks-email-isis-saudi-arabia-qatar-us-allies-funding-barack-obama-knew-all-a7362071.html

I didn't see anything about this in the US mainstream press, though I won't swear it didn't appear somewhere. But I have heard much more about how the wikileaks releases contained little of substance.

[Jan 15, 2017] Days before far-right President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in, President Barack Obama has expanded all intelligence agencies access to private communications obtained via warrentless spying

economistsview.typepad.com

JohnH -> Peter K.... , January 14, 2017 at 12:28 PM

Obama continues to set the table for Trump:

"Days before far-right President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in, President Barack Obama has expanded all intelligence agencies' access to private communications obtained via warrentless spying.

An executive order allows the National Security Agency (NSA) to share data collected via its global surveillance dragnet with all other U.S. intelligence agencies, without redacting untargeted American citizens' private information.

"The change means that far more officials will be searching through raw data," explained the New York Times, which broke the story late Thursday. The Times also shared the 23-page declassified version of the president's order."
http://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/01/13/obama-expands-spy-agencies-access-private-data-just-time-trump

Not that Democrats like Pelosi/Schumer/Feinstein care...they're apparently quite happy to give Trump's people access to all Americans' most private data.

[Jan 13, 2017] Mystery Hackers Blow Up Secret NSA Hacking Tools in 'Final F--k You'

Notable quotes:
"... The message was accompanied by a parting gift...an apparently complete NSA backdoor kit targeting the Windows operating system. The kit is comprised of 61 malicious Windows executables, only one of which was previously known to antivirus vendors... ..."
Jan 13, 2017 | www.thedailybeast.com
by Kevin Poulsen

"A mysterious hacking group has been bedeviling the U.S. intelligence community for months, releasing a tranche of secret National Security Agency hacking tools to the public while offering to sell even more for the right price. Now with barely a week to go before Donald Trump's inauguration, the self-styled "Shadow Brokers" on Thursday announced that they were packing it in.

"So long, farewell peoples. TheShadowBrokers is going dark, making exit," the group wrote on its darknet site... The message was accompanied by a parting gift...an apparently complete NSA backdoor kit targeting the Windows operating system. The kit is comprised of 61 malicious Windows executables, only one of which was previously known to antivirus vendors...

... ... ...

The Shadow Brokers emerged in August with the announcement that they'd stolen the hacking tools used by a sophisticated computer-intrusion operation known as the Equation Group, and were putting them up for sale to the highest bidder. It was a remarkable claim, because the Equation Group is generally understood to be part of the NSA's elite Tailored Access Operations program and is virtually never detected, much less penetrated.

... ... ...

Released along with the announcement was a huge cache of specialized malware, including dozens of backdoor programs and 10 exploits, two of them targeting previously unknown security holes in Cisco routers-a basic building block of the internet. While Cisco and other companies scrambled for a fix, security experts pored over the Shadow Brokers tranche like it was the Rosetta Stone. "It was the first time, as threat-intelligence professionals, that we've had access to what appears to be a relatively complete toolkit of a nation-state attacker," says Jake Williams, founder of Rendition Infosec. "It was excitement in some circles, dismay in other circles, and panic and a rush to patch if you're running vulnerable hardware."

[Jan 13, 2017] Former Employee Sues Google, Claims It Maintained an Internal Spy Network That Encouraged Workers to Snitch on Each Other

Notable quotes:
"... By Michael Arria, an associate editor at AlterNet and AlterNet's labor editor. Follow @MichaelArria on Twitter. Originally published at Alternet ..."
"... The lawsuit was filed by a former product manager who claims that the alleged program violates California labor law. The same person filed a National Labor Relations Board complaint against Google and its sister firm Nest this June. The NLRB complaint alleged that the employee was terminated after making a social media post that was critical of the company. The allegation also contends that the companies illegally monitored workers' electronic devices to prevent them from airing criticisms of Google. ..."
"... Google could be fined up to $100 for each of the 12 alleged violations in the suit, multiplied by 65,000 employees. If an allegedly unlawful policy lasted for more than one pay period, the fine doubles to $200 per pay period, per employee, for up to a year. If 'Doe' prevails on every allegation in the lawsuit, the maximum fine would be $3.8 billion, with about $14,600 going to each Google employee. ..."
"... Company with business model based entirely around mass surveillance enforces a "transparency" (just another word for it) culture among its employees? Who could've knew I'm really interested how the lawsuit works out. ..."
Jan 03, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
From a legal standpoint, the arguments that Google is making in its defense in an employee lawsuit are lame. Of course, it could be saving its real case for the court. Oddly, the summary below omits a key issue as to why Google's surveillance and secrecy policies are problematic. From the underlying story at Information:

The lawsuit alleges that Google warns employees to not put into writing concerns about potential illegal activity within Google, even to the company's own attorneys, because the disclosures could fall into the hands of regulators and law enforcement. It also alleges that confidentiality provisions include a prohibition on employees writing "a novel about someone working at a tech company in Silicon Valley," without Google signing off on the final draft.

Among other things, this makes it impossible for Google to have any sort of internal whistleblower program, even when most are strictly cosmetic. Most corporate governance experts deem them to be necessary as a liability shield for management. Moreover, these agreements also violate the SEC's whistleblower rules, which bar companies from hindering employees contacting agency officials regarding suspected abuses. Google's top brass appear convinced that their internal code of omerta plus their connections means that they can dispense with that sort of thing.

Google's internal non-disclosure agreements apparently didn't contain standard "outs," the most important being that the signer can disclose information when compelled to by judicial decree, as long as they inform the company first and give them the opportunity to contest the order.

I hope California readers will tell me about the reputation of the firm suing Google. The claim looks to be spare (a good sign) and well argued. Even though the usual rule of thumb with employee suits is that the big companies have a huge advantage by being able to hire better counsel, Google looks to have overreached to such a remarkable degree that the employee may well prevail. It would also help if outside parties take interest and provide amicus briefs on behalf of the plaintiff.

By Michael Arria, an associate editor at AlterNet and AlterNet's labor editor. Follow @MichaelArria on Twitter. Originally published at Alternet

Tech news site the Information reports that a former Google employee is suing the company, claiming it maintained an internal spying program that encouraged workers to rat each other out.

The lawsuit was filed by a former product manager who claims that the alleged program violates California labor law. The same person filed a National Labor Relations Board complaint against Google and its sister firm Nest this June. The NLRB complaint alleged that the employee was terminated after making a social media post that was critical of the company. The allegation also contends that the companies illegally monitored workers' electronic devices to prevent them from airing criticisms of Google.

The lawsuit points out that employees should be able to discuss workplace conditions without fearing retaliatory action.

Google has called the lawsuit "baseless." The Information piece quotes a statement from the company:

We're very committed to an open internal culture, which means we frequently share with employees details of product launches and confidential business information. Transparency is a huge part of our culture. Our employee confidentiality requirements are designed to protect proprietary business information, while not preventing employees from disclosing information about terms and conditions of employment, or workplace concerns.

If the lawsuit ends up being successful, it could be extremely expensive for Google. The Information report breaks down the math:

Google could be fined up to $100 for each of the 12 alleged violations in the suit, multiplied by 65,000 employees. If an allegedly unlawful policy lasted for more than one pay period, the fine doubles to $200 per pay period, per employee, for up to a year. If 'Doe' prevails on every allegation in the lawsuit, the maximum fine would be $3.8 billion, with about $14,600 going to each Google employee.

Read the entire article at the Information's website .

Teddy , January 3, 2017 at 12:44 pm

Company with business model based entirely around mass surveillance enforces a "transparency" (just another word for it) culture among its employees? Who could've knew I'm really interested how the lawsuit works out.

Tom Stone , January 3, 2017 at 1:15 pm

They ain't MoFo, but that's not a lightweight law firm.

[Jan 12, 2017] I read all my email on via SSH on a shell server

Jan 12, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Matthew G. Saroff , January 12, 2017 at 2:56 pm

I read all my email on via SSH on a shell server.

If someone can hack my machine through a text window, they deserve to control my machine.

[Jan 12, 2017] Be very careful, because in your hotel rooms and no matter where you go, you're gonna probably have cameras

Jan 12, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Fred C. Dobbs : Thursday, January 12, 2017 at 06:05 AM , January 12, 2017 at 06:05 AM
Trump, Sex and Lots of Whining
https://nyti.ms/2jxbsl0
NYT - Gail Collins - Jan 11

... About that press conference. Here are some of the things we learned:

■ The reason he hasn't shown up to answer questions from reporters since July is "inaccurate news."

■ The Russians don't have any secret tapes of him behaving badly in a hotel room because every time he goes to hotels abroad, he warns everybody: "Be very careful, because in your hotel rooms and no matter where you go, you're gonna probably have cameras." Of everything Trump said during the press conference, this was perhaps the most convincing.

[Jan 12, 2017] We surveilled some folks

Notable quotes:
"... "We surveilled some folks." ..."
Jan 12, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
allan , January 12, 2017 at 2:34 pm

The Obama administration opens the raw, unminimized NSA spigot for domestic law enforcement
just in time to hand over to the incoming regime.


N.S.A. Gets More Latitude to Share Intercepted Communications
[NYT]

Time to lace up those walking shoes and do some organizing.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , January 12, 2017 at 2:56 pm

Never give up the fight, though, like a lot of things in life, it would have been easier to oppose it in the beginning.

"Because Obama, we did little until."

Ivy , January 12, 2017 at 3:35 pm

"We surveilled some folks."

[Jan 11, 2017] Gaius Publius: Best Buy National Repair Techs Routinely Search Customer Devices, Act as "Paid Informers" for FBI

Jan 11, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

What can to prevent a Geek Squad employee from planting compromising material on one's computer out of pure greed, or if the FBI wants is out to get someone? How do you prove that the image or file or whatever wasn't planted?

Posted on January 10, 2017 by Yves Smith Yves here. There is an additional layer to this ugly picture. I have whistleblowers as contacts, and one is particularly technology savvy. He has long been above-board in how he conducts his personal and business affairs. His big worry has been that it is not hard to plant information on devices.

By Gaius Publius , a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius , Tumblr and Facebook . GP article archive here . Originally published at DownWithTyranny

Did you know that Best Buy's central computer repair facility - their so-called "Geek Squad" - contains at least three employees who are also regular informers for the FBI? And that these employees routinely search through computers and other devices that Best Buy customers send in for repair? And when they find something they think the FBI would be interested in, they turn over the information for rewards of up to $500?

That's a sideline business you probably didn't imagine existed - outside of the old Soviet Union or communist East Germany.

I want to look briefly at two aspects of this - first, the story itself (it's chilling) and second, its implications .

The Story - Best Buy Repair Techs Routinely Inform on Their Computer Repair Customers to the FBI

Let's look first at the story via the OC Weekly in Orange County, California. Note, as you read, the use of phrases like "FBI informant" and "paid FBI informant." We'll also look at other versions of this story. In all versions, Best Buy repair employees routinely search customers' computers for information they can sell to the FBI, and get paid if the FBI wants the info.

In the FBI-centered versions, the Best Buy employees act on their own and get paid as "honest citizens," as it were, merely offering tips, even though this practice seems to be routine. For the FBI, the fact that the same employees frequently offer tips for which they get paid doesn't make them "paid informers" in the sense that a regular street snitch regularly sells tips to cops.

For the Best Buy customer in question, that's a distinction without a difference. But you'll see that distinction made in articles about this incident, depending on whose side the writer seems to favor.

Now to the OC Weekly 's write-up by R. Scott Moxley (h/t reddit user Spacewoman3 , posting in the valuable link source r/WayOfTheBern ; emphasis mine):

[Dr. Mark A.] Rettenmaier is a prominent Orange County physician and surgeon who had no idea that a Nov. 1, 2011, trip to a Mission Viejo Best Buy would jeopardize his freedom and eventually raise concerns about, at a minimum, FBI competency or, at worst, corruption. Unable to boot his HP Pavilion desktop computer, he sought the assistance of the store's Geek Squad. At the time, nobody knew the company's repair technicians routinely searched customers' devices for files that could earn them $500 windfalls as FBI informants . This case produced that national revelation.

According to court records, Geek Squad technician John "Trey" Westphal, an FBI informant , reported he accidentally [sic] located on Rettenmaier's computer an image of "a fully nude, white prepubescent female on her hands and knees on a bed, with a brown choker-type collar around her neck." Westphal notified his boss, Justin Meade, also an FBI informant , who alerted colleague Randall Ratliff, another FBI informant at Best Buy, as well as the FBI. Claiming the image met the definition of child pornography and was tied to a series of illicit pictures known as the "Jenny" shots, agent Tracey Riley seized the hard drive.

The story goes on to detail rights violations committed by the FBI on its own, such as these:

Setting aside the issue of whether the search of Rettenmaier's computer constituted an illegal search by private individuals acting as government agents , the FBI undertook a series of dishonest measures in hopes of building a case, according to James D. Riddet, Rettenmaier's San Clemente-based defense attorney. Riddet says agents conducted two additional searches of the computer without obtaining necessary warrants , lied to trick a federal magistrate judge into authorizing a search warrant , then tried to cover up their misdeeds by initially hiding records .

To convict someone of child-pornography charges, the government must prove the suspect knowingly possessed the image. But in Rettenmaier's case, the alleged "Jenny" image was found on unallocated "trash" space, meaning it could only be retrieved by "carving" with costly, highly sophisticated forensics tools. In other words, it's arguable a computer's owner wouldn't know of its existence. (For example, malware can secretly implant files.) Worse for the FBI, a federal appellate court unequivocally declared in February 2011 ( USA v. Andrew Flyer ) that pictures found on unallocated space did not constitute knowing possession because it is impossible to determine when, why or who downloaded them.

The doctor's lawyer, of course, is contesting all of this, and the article's main point is that these discoveries have the FBI on the defensive. From the article's lead paragraph:

[A]n unusual child-pornography-possession case has placed officials on the defensive for nearly 26 months. Questions linger about law-enforcement honesty, unconstitutional searches, underhanded use of informants and twisted logic. Given that a judge recently ruled against government demands to derail a defense lawyer's dogged inquiry into the mess, United States of America v. Mark A. Rettenmaier is likely to produce additional courthouse embarrassments in 2017.

I want to ignore the wrangling between the court, the FBI and the attorneys for this piece and focus on the practices of Best Buy's employees and the government's defense of those practices. After discussing attempts to manipulate the court by withholding information in order to get authorization for a raid, the author notes:

Assistant U.S. Attorney M. Anthony Brown believes the "Jenny" image shouldn't be suppressed because it's only "wild speculation" that the Geek Squad performed searches at FBI instigation . To him, the defense is pushing a "flawed" theory slyly shifting focus to innocent FBI agents ; he maintains that Rettenmaier-who is smart enough to have taught medicine at USC and UCLA-was dumb enough to seek Best Buy recovery of all of his computer files after knowingly storing child porn there.

Reading this, it's easy to see that the issue of what constitutes a "paid informant" is being obscured. After all, what counts as "FBI instigation"? If someone pays you regularly for something that she never directly asks for, is that "innocent" behavior or caused behavior ("instigation")?

Yes, Best Buy Did This Regularly

The article answers the questions above:

But the biggest issue remains whether Geek Squad technicians acted as secret law-enforcement agents and, thus, violated Fourth Amendment prohibitions against warrantless government searches. Riddet [the defendant's lawyer] claims records show "FBI and Best Buy made sure that during the period from 2007 to the present, there was always at least one supervisor who was an active informant." He also said, " The FBI appears to be able to access data at [Best Buy's main repair facility in Brooks, Kentucky] whenever they want ." Calling the relationship between the agency and the Geek Squad relevant to pretrial motions, [Judge] Carney approved Riddet's request to question agents under oath.

The writer goes on to discuss the ins and outs of this particular case. But consider just what's above:

And finally, from the article's lead:

The LA Times handles this question similarly in a piece when the case first broke (my emphasis):

An employee at Best Buy's nationwide computer repair center served as a paid FBI informant who for years tipped off agents to illicit material found on customers' hard drives, according to the lawyer for a Newport Beach doctor facing child pornography charges as a result of information from the employee.

Federal authorities deny they directed the man to actively look for illegal activity. But the attorney alleges the FBI essentially used the employee to perform warrantless searches on electronics that passed through the massive maintenance facility outside Louisville, Ky., where technicians known as Geek Squad agents work on devices from across the country.

And note:

The Geek Squad had to use specialized technical tools to recover the photos because they were either damaged or had been deleted, according to court papers.

This contrasts with the Best Buy assertion that "Geek Squad technician John "Trey" Westphal, an FBI informant, reported he accidentally located [the image] on Rettenmaier's computer".

The Times thinks this case could turn into a constitutional issue, regardless of whether the doctor is guilty or innocent. (For the record, I'll note that the later (perhaps illegal as well) search of the doctor's other devices turned up what is asserted to be more incriminating pictures, mere possession of which is a "sex crime" in the U.S.)

The Implications

First point - This is an eager prosecutorial society; we really are a punishing bunch, we Americans. We've never left the world of Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter . So we give our police great latitude, allowing them to shoot and kill almost anyone for almost any reason, so long as the stated reason is in the form "I was afraid for my safety." Our prosecutors have great latitude in putting as many of our fellows in prison as possible. Our judges routinely clear their court calendars using plea-bargained guilty verdicts sans trial. This is the American judicial system, and it looks nothing like Law and Order , which is mainly propaganda.

And we, the spectators, are happy as clams to see the guilty (and the innocent) tortured and punished - witness our entertainment and the many popular programs that vilify the unworthy, from Judge Judy and her ilk, to Jerry Springer knockoffs, to all of those Lockup -type programs (extremely popular, by the way) on MSNBC. We love to see the "wicked" get it, in media and in life, much more so than people in many other first-world countries do. Witness our incarceration rate, the highest in the world .

Thus we give our "law enforcement" personnel - cops of all stripes, prosecutors, courts of all stripes (including the secret ones) - great latitude in finding people to punish and then making them truly miserable for as long as possible. We have been like this as a society for some time, all done with most people's permission.

Second point - With a Democrat in the White House, we're inclined to think this setup is mainly well-managed (even when it obviously isn't). Thus it has our blessing, more or less - or at least it has the blessing of middle class and working class white people - the bulk of people who vote.

Third point - We therefore fail to ask the most obvious questions. For example, about this Best Buy case, we ought to be asking this:

How common is the practice of paid FBI informants spying on fellow citizens in the ordinary performance of their jobs?

Are other computer repair companies and facilities similarly infected (infiltrated) by government agents?

Are other businesses also infiltrated to this degree?

Are "sex crimes" the only activity paid FBI informers watch for?

Is political activity subject to this kind of spying?

How much will this practice widen under AG Beauregard Sessions and President Trump?

Much to think about. I don't see the practice ending soon. I do see this as the tip of what could be a very large iceberg. Disturbed Voter , January 10, 2017 at 5:44 am

Some professionals are required by law or professional ethics to report wrong doing by others. So this isn't new. You should expect, at least in some cases, that anything you do online or offline is public knowledge and can be used against you in a court of law (or by a blackmailer) by both good and bad actors. You may or may not have a right to privacy, but in actual practice, it is primarily the needle in the haystack that protects you it isn't easy to uncover bad behavior in the midst of countless pointless information.

I know a private businessman who repairs computers. Even he has formal paperwork to cover both himself (while working on your computer) and to cover his customer, in regards to what junk you have on your hard drive. He doesn't want to be an accessory to a crime by a customer. And the customer needs reassurance that he isn't trolling the customers data (more profitable to borrow financial info, not porn).

reslez , January 10, 2017 at 12:24 pm

Sorry, but computer repair techs who are secretly on the payroll of the FBI and this apparently being normal and routine (ensuring that at least one supervisor was always an informant) is absolutely shocking and extreme. As are routine computer searches by personnel acting on behalf of the FBI without a warrant - searches that extend into unallocated areas of the hard drive requiring special software - this was not an accidental or inadvertent discovery, it was a purposeful fishing expedition.

To pooh pooh the severity of the surveillance does no one any favors. We may not have privacy in practice but de jure we have something called the Fourth Amendment. Behavior like this from our institutions does nothing but confirm RT's line that the United States is a surveillance state of historically unprecedented levels. Sadly the same people who pretend to champion the Bill of Rights in other contexts (such as gun rights) don't care a snapped twig about all our other rights that are routinely and with malice dismantled by the government acting under the cover of private business.

Disturbed Voter , January 10, 2017 at 1:01 pm

While I sympathize with your quaint notion of civil rights that was pretty much cancelled by the NDAA of 2012, and the carte blanche given by the secret court of warrants. A legal fig leaf perhaps. If you want better civil rights, you have to abolish the secret court of warrants, and any other Star Chamber. Also get rid of the NDAA and the Patriot Act of 2001.

The FBI and CIA are, and have always been, in competition and that leads to an always expanding need to tabulate everything and examine anything. Ultimately those who seek safety, lose liberty. RT is completely correct (when they want to be) about the US. Of course, even France 24 has its own agenda too.

bob , January 10, 2017 at 6:10 pm

"searches that extend into unallocated areas of the hard drive requiring special software"

This is BS. Stop repeating it. It's a very weak case, and only serves to make people feel secure in their insecurity.

When you are looking at a hard drive you look at the whole hard drive. You have to. Just because windoze and apple don't let you see this, doesn't mean it doesn't happen every second of everyday in the background.

If you are going to try to legislate that *anyone* can only look at "allocated" data, then, well, you can't turn a computer on. The entire boot sector isn't "allocated" (in the way that you are using the term), and you'd need *special software* to read it (an OS, or a disk utility)

Any boot issue should be made illegal to fix?

Jeff , January 10, 2017 at 5:51 am

quick one: M. Publius has Gaius as his first name. You have put "Gauis" in the last few articles that you reposted.

Yves Smith Post author , January 10, 2017 at 3:24 pm

Sorry, fixing.

bob , January 10, 2017 at 6:15 am

I'm not in favor of what BB is doing, but this is completely believable. He sent the drive to be analyzed (recovery of lost files). They analyzed it and found his deleted files.

This is pretty basic computer stuff.

"And note:

The Geek Squad had to use specialized technical tools to recover the photos because they were either damaged or had been deleted, according to court papers.

This contrasts with the Best Buy assertion that "Geek Squad technician John "Trey" Westphal, an FBI informant, reported he accidentallylocated [the image] on Rettenmaier's computer"."

I've done it before with my own drives that have failed. You find all of the files that were "deleted" but not overwritten.

This is why you NEVER, EVER get rid of a hard drive without physically destroying it first. You might not be able to access the failed drive to write over the old data anymore (drive failure). Lots of times, you can still access the drive to READ it.

c , January 10, 2017 at 7:08 am

where did you read: "He sent the drive to be analyzed (recovery of lost files). They analyzed it"?

Unable to boot his HP Pavilion desktop computer
battery, clock battery, any other hardware failure nothing would affect the integrity of your hard disc

bob , January 10, 2017 at 7:57 am

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/if-a-best-buy-technician-is-a-paid-fbi-informant-are-his-computer-searches-legal/2017/01/09/f56028b4-d442-11e6-9cb0-54ab630851e8_story.html

"Rettenmaier's hard drive was shipped to Geek Squad City in Brooks, Ky., a suburb of Louisville.

"Prosecutors said that the Geek Squad technician who searched the unallocated space was merely trying to recover all the data Rettenmaier had asked to be restored. Riddet argued that the technician was going beyond the regular search to deleted material to find evidence the FBI might want."

It seems as if the people working for BB in Louiville were data recovery people. You can't really be surprised that A) they recovered data or B) that the FBI might be interested in knowing people who work there - they were paying them.

Dave , January 10, 2017 at 4:22 pm

Bob,

Speaking of privacy, I believe that all those numbers appended to the end of the WAPO link you posted lead straight back to your computer and the chain of links you used to find it.
Sometimes you can strip them out and get to the link without them. Other times you cannot. Anyone savvy enough to explain an easy formula anonymize the link by removing all or part of those numbers?

bob , January 10, 2017 at 4:45 pm

Yeah, I posted that link quickly this morning without looking.

Dave , January 10, 2017 at 12:56 pm

H.P.? Serves him right for buying Hewlett Packard shit and for trusting Best Buy.
Thanks to Carly Fiorina, ALL H.P. products have become absolute unreliable garbage.
The way to get back at Best Buy is to use them as a free rental service; i.e. Buy a product you want to use for a little while, keep the receipt and then return it within the allowed period and get your money back.

Any corporation that allows the nonsense profiled in this article deserves the corporate death penalty.

If you have an old hard drive you can do the following to disable it at home:
Drill multiple holes, at least half an inch in diameter, all the way through the casing and the disk of the hard drive so you can look through the holes. You will need a vice and high quality drill bits. Don't do this unless you are familiar with tools and take safety precautions. Your hand is worth more than your privacy.

Make as least several holes, and make sure they are not opposite each other on the disc. This will cause it to blow up when it's spinning at x thousand RPM.
Pour glue into the holes and tip the casing on its edge so the glue flows inside the hard drive casing.

bob , January 10, 2017 at 5:46 pm

Drilling holes through the platters is probably the quickest, easiest way to render the drive useless to most.

It's not about having the drive blow up, it's about how much time and effort they are going to have to expend trying to get that data back.

If you're worried about state level actors, you're not going to be able to do much. They have unlimited time and money. You have to assume they will get it.

-they don't have to spin the drive at 5,400 rpm. In fact, at that level, they can't. The analyze it, very slowly, with an electron microscope.

fajensen , January 10, 2017 at 7:28 am

Not only that there can be stuff hiding in un-allocated space – it can be sucked into allocated space when new stuff is created when sloppy – or performance fetishistic – programmers do not zero out memory on allocation.

So, you create a new file / document / image and now inside the binary blob that contains your data, other stuff now lurks.

Tuff Titties if you send a picture of your dog in Christmas Dress to Granny and the "padding" added to align the image data with physical sectors on the hard disk suck in a "Jenny thumbnail" that Firefox cached for you when some pr0n site did a popup.

Once on the net, STASI's robots will sniff that out because "padding space" is EXACTLY one of the channels that "Evul Terrierists" would use to hide nefarious plots – Prosecutions will follow, because they have blown billions on this surveillance machine so they always need cases to prove the worth of the "investment".

In the US, "Progress" is commonly measured in "Effort Spent" so it does not matter that the charges will eventually be dismissed.

PS:
I often buy used business computers through vendors like Arrow Value Recovery. I do this to save money, because nothing radically good has come up for some years now making a 2 year old computer perfectly good especially at 1/3 of the new-price and also for environmental reasons.

I never keep the original hard drive that come with the computer, I replace it with a new SSD and reinstall from original media. Why?

Because even though the drive has been initialized by the vendor of the used PC, there may be stuff lurking in there that I don't want to maybe take through customs or airport security! Or maybe known things I don't want running on the inside of my firewall. Lenovo is kinda in-famous for that, others haven't been outed yet, one must assume.

Katharine , January 10, 2017 at 11:02 am

You seem to discount what the article says when you say:
> They analyzed it and found his deleted files.

It is quite a jump to identify this as his or even necessarily as a deleted file given this:

But in Rettenmaier's case, the alleged "Jenny" image was found on unallocated "trash" space, meaning it could only be retrieved by "carving" with costly, highly sophisticated forensics tools. In other words, it's arguable a computer's owner wouldn't know of its existence. (For example, malware can secretly implant files.)

To the best of my limited understanding deleted files go to Windows "Trash" in Windows space, not to unallocated space. If someone could explain how lost files could move out of the Windows partition to unallocated space, or clarify how else the term "unallocated" might be interpreted here I would appreciate it.

Knifecatcher , January 10, 2017 at 12:23 pm

Files in "Trash" aren't really deleted until the trash (or Recycling Bin, or whatever) is emptied. But even then the data isn't really gone. The 1s and 0s that make up the "Jenny" image or your 1040 or the torrid letter to your mistress are still there.

The operating system just erases the pointer or bookmark that tells it "this is a file" and marks the space as unallocated, meaning it can now store other stuff there. But until it does so any program that can read the data directly – not through the operating system – can still find and view the contents of those files.

Katharine , January 10, 2017 at 1:11 pm

So they're only referring to space temporarily unallocated on that partition, not another partition that is unallocated? Okay, thanks!

bob , January 10, 2017 at 4:26 pm

When you look at hard drive, especially with the intent to "recover data" there is no way to look at just want you want to see,

You have to look at everything on the hard drive. You take an image of the hard drive, then try to piece the files back together.

That there were "deleted" files on that hard drive, and that the tech recovered them, is not nefarious. It's his job.

I'm more than willing to admit that this is very shady business. He was also working for the FBI? That ain't cool.

Once you let that hard drive out of your sight, and let someone else poke at it, you can't be surprised that they find things.

"But I didn't want them to find THAT!" is not a legal excuse.

I'm pretty amazed at how this story is taking off. It really demonstrates how little people understand the tech that they use everyday.

This is a very bad case to try to make some sort of example out of. But, he's a rich doctor from Cali. It's not that surprising.

reslez , January 10, 2017 at 12:39 pm

At $500 a pop, an hourly Geek Squad worker has plenty of incentive to make up whatever is needed to keep the FBI happy. Think they have too much integrity or there's too much oversight of their actions? What about the multiple incidents where these same technicians charge for services that aren't warranted or weren't performed or save off copies of their customers' nude photos and share them with the entire internet?

Geek Squad Accused Of Stealing, Distributing Customer's Naked Photos. Yes, Again (2013)

bob , January 10, 2017 at 4:30 pm

"Think they have too much integrity or there's too much oversight of their actions?"

Who said that?

If you don't want your nude photos to be shared, DON'T SHARE THEM.

I'd recommend never getting them near the internet if you are that worried.

crittermom , January 10, 2017 at 6:27 am

Great article. Thanks, Yves.
Perhaps it was a little too early in the morn for me to read it, however. I remain stunned (which is rare following this past election season).
At $500 a pop, it seems the temptation would be huge for the Geeks to plant things on your computer to get a 'reward' from the FBI.
This 'private spy' practice is wrong on so many levels.
I've never used the Geek Squad & now I certainly never would.
Apparently, they are just one more enemy to avoid. Wowsers. I'll be forwarding this article to friends. Best Buy is now Big Brother.

River , January 10, 2017 at 12:18 pm

You'd have more incentive since your hourly wage, from what is probably a part time job or "part time" i.e. just few enough hours to deny you full time is pretty meager. At $500 a tip, you can be sure that at least the temptation is there to give the Feds what they want.

Roger Smith , January 10, 2017 at 6:48 am

Great article. I would love to know whether or not the Apple Stores do this, especially since Macs are largely not self repairable, even at the most basic level. i.e. Went into get a cracked screen/battery fixed, ended up with a federal investigation!

Eureka Springs , January 10, 2017 at 8:43 am

I took a friend into an apple store a couple days ago because she was having problems getting in/passed her own password. Within minutes they literally put her entire hd in the cloud and then told her after the fact. I lost it when they asked if I wanted the same.

A family member of mine frequently has problems with a windows based laptop and best buy geeks just accesses her entire computer remotely. I've never understood why someone would allow such a thing. Can't wait to send her this article/link.

katiebird , January 10, 2017 at 8:54 am

Can those files be deleted from iCloud or are the there forever?

Eureka Springs , January 10, 2017 at 9:18 am

I don't know but assume the worst considering the value to so many and the difficulty of truly erasing files from ones own hd. The apple store "cloud" was a room full of large servers just behind the counter. They don't ask, or charge for that 'service' so once again, we must be the product.

And as for the police state and the courts . could we find a mafia more intrusive, less trustworthy? As I keep thinking, why oh why aren't computers and phones the very expanded definition of papers and effects?

ambrit , January 10, 2017 at 11:11 am

I'm wondering just how big the data file capacity of the Utah federal server farm really is. It is "common knowledge" that the, say, military regularly hides the true capabilities of it's machinery on the basis of combat efficiency. "Keep 'em guessing" is the idea. This gives one a potential edge if real conflict should occur. Logically, the same should apply to federal cyber capabilities. So, how much of the nation's cyber traffic can be stored and analyzed? All of it? The mind boggles.
Here, the quality of algorithmic sorting functions is key. Sloppy searches will yield excesses of false positive prosecutions. It would be easy for "revenge" prosecutions and "silencing" actions to be inserted and hidden this way. Thus, the "powers" actually have a disincentive to perfect their sorting algorithms. Bad days ahead.

Knifecatcher , January 10, 2017 at 12:28 pm

My brother used to live a few minutes away from that facility so I've driven past it. It's hard to get a scale for the place from photos but in person it's absolutely massive.

Old Jake , January 10, 2017 at 5:11 pm

Once data is out of your hands you have to assume it's public.

For example: you tell Apple to delete your data. How do they do it? The same way your computer does it, their system deletes the pointer to that data (file) from an "index" of the data (files) disk. In other words it does not delete the data from the disk, it only tells itself to ignore it in the future. If someone comes along later, and wants to scan the disk and recover deleted files they can do just what the Geek guy did.

Quick answer: No, once files are in the iCloud they are effectively there forever.

bob , January 10, 2017 at 5:24 pm

Agreed.

Roger Smith , January 10, 2017 at 11:19 am

Yikes! "Just in case" no doubt, or "standard protocol".

bob , January 10, 2017 at 5:09 pm

It's "standard protocol" for any professional level computer tech to image the drive before they do anything else. In case they do something that wipes out the rest of the data while working on it.

What they do with that image, and how they store it, is the tricky part.

It's much easier and quicker to "image" a hard drive, than to securely delete a hard drive.

How long does it take to fill up a 500 GB hard drive? It's going to take at least that long, and probably several multiples of that time, to securely delete that drive by OVERWRITING the drives.

I think DOD level "wiping" calls for 20 overwrites.

Drives do 2 things- Read or write. There is no "delete".

Even the spooks in the plane over China a few years ago were forced to use axes to "delete" the data, before the Chinese got to it. It's WAY quicker.

They also, on that level, weren't deleting the data. When trying to defend against a state level attack, all you're doing is increasing the time that it will take them to recover the data, or most of the data.

oho , January 10, 2017 at 9:01 am

anyone w/a cable and access to your device can clone, sniff around or modify your drive.

.unless you encrypt.

"The Courier-Mail said customers had also had photos stolen from their phones."

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/oct/13/staff-at-brisbane-apple-store-fired-for-stealing-pictures-from-customer-phones

bob , January 10, 2017 at 5:17 pm

It depends on how you encrypt. It's not a panacea, and much harder to achieve in practice than certain iHoles will make you believe

The techs at the genus bar can see your files? You ain't encrypting right..

Ivy , January 10, 2017 at 11:59 am

What do people recommend on how to secure or scrub a MacBook or similar Apple product after Genius Bar service?

Old Jake , January 10, 2017 at 5:04 pm

After? Isn't that a bit late?

Ivy , January 10, 2017 at 9:02 pm

Old Jake, other NC readers may have similar concerns about data security, and your other comments seem to indicate some familiarity with computers. What would you advise people to do post-Apple or post-Best Buy?

bob , January 10, 2017 at 9:57 pm

The best way to help is to-

Back things up on a dedicated, local drive. A true backup is not kept in the same physical location as the computer is. Keep it in a different building, in case of fire, or disaster.

If you're not backing your files up, don't have that drive plugged in. Don't have it in the same place.

Don't ever "throw out" any computer, or anything with a hard drive or storage. Don't assume that because you can't access it, no one can.

Destroy it, or keep it forever. Those are the only two "safe" choices.

"but i know someone who recycles computer equipment"

You mean they sell it? That's what "recycling" is in the tech industry. I'd be very wary of anyone willing to "take a drive" off my hands for me. They aren't going to securely delete it, they're going to sell it for a few bucks to someone else. They certainly aren't going to take the time to securely "wipe" the drive. That takes hours, and lots of power. For a few dollars they are going to get on the sale?

There are people who offer "shredding" (grinding the drive into pieces with a big machine) or secure disk disposal. This costs money. Yes, you will have to pay to get rid of it safely, and then trust that whomever you pay actually does what they say they are going to do.

"why do I have to pay to get rid of it? I have very good taste, and spent a ton of money on that computer. It's worth something"

No, it's not. It's a liability.

bob , January 10, 2017 at 10:16 pm

Along those lines-

Never use "cloud based" backups, unless you are OK with the files being up on the internet. YOU ARE PUTTING THEM ON THE INTERNET. Cloud based backups are a great place for hackers to target, lots of stuff there.

if you keep backups, you shouldn't have to ever bring your computer in with anything on it. If you are in a situation where you MUST leave the hard drive in the machine to get it serviced, securely delete (overwrite the drive) and then restore the computer to the zero day state of when you took it out of the box. This may require another computer.

If you are in a situation where the drive is cooked(drive failure), keep the drive, buy a new one, and restore from backups to the new drive.

This is getting much harder. Getting install disks is very tough these days. Disk imaging programs are better, but they are also prone to hardware compatibility issues.

Before you use the computer, make sure you have a good backup first. This means actually deleting and re-writing the disk from backups. You don't know if it will work until you try. You don't want to find out it doesn't work when you are scrambling to get things fixed.

90% of "computer problems" are disk and/or OS related issues.

Done right, this can save a ton of time, and risk.

bob , January 10, 2017 at 10:18 pm

LSS-

There's no "solution". Just best practices.

If anyone tries to sell you a box that "will do everything", walk away.

Security is a process, not a product.

bob , January 10, 2017 at 4:35 pm

I'm 99% positive that apple is probably worse. Apple and time machine are "cloud" based. No need for the FBI, or paid agents of the FBI, to look at the physical drive to see your files. All they have to do is look at the cloud, which may be done with or without apple's help or permission.

Not that apple has any problem cooperating with authoritarian govs-

http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/04/business/media/new-york-times-apps-apple-china.html

Octopii , January 10, 2017 at 9:35 am

All of us who work or have worked in consumer-oriented technical service are well aware that it's an unscalable business. Unless something else is going on that favors an organization. This doesn't surprise me one bit.

bob , January 10, 2017 at 4:37 pm

It's a tempest in a teapot.

I'm very surprised this story is getting anywhere.

Where have you people been living for the past decade?

different clue , January 10, 2017 at 8:21 pm

Computerologists and digitologists and coderologists assume that every American is ( or should be) a computerologist or a digitologist or a coderologist. Most of us are no such thing. Most of us are various levels of analog holdovers, helpless and afraid . . . victims of a world we never made.

So what looks like a tempest in a teapot to you might look like botulism in the beans to many.

bob , January 10, 2017 at 9:40 pm

I'm sorry, it's difficult to deal with all the BS that the tech industry has fed people.

I used to do tech support, and got out of it for this reason "but apple makes it a lot easier!"

Then, go get an apple.

"I want my files secure. I want to be able to access them anywhere"

Those are mutually exclusive terms. You can't have both. You can pay for both. There are more than a few companies who will sell this idea to you, but since when do you get what you pay for?

"But apple lets me do that, and they don't talk to me like this"

Go find a genie. They'll tell you whatever you want as long as you keep feeding the vending machine money.

"you're a jerk"

PNW_WarriorWoman , January 10, 2017 at 10:36 am

KIRO TV's (Seattle) Jesse Jones did a story in November 2016 on Office Depot selling fixes for computer problems that don't exist and pushing customers to purchase costly repairs. As a result, Senator Maria Cantwell called for the Federal Trade Commission to investigate.

Furzymouse , January 10, 2017 at 10:36 am

​In the aughts, the Geek Squad in CA ​copied our credit card, which we had used to charge a repair to a laptop, to purchase a trip for two to Italy​ ​​​took months to get the charge reversed, as they also hacked all our personal info as well, making it appear that we had indeed booked the trip ..​

Praedor , January 10, 2017 at 12:31 pm

Well, I'll NEVER use those turds. I haven't actually bought a computer since 1998. Since that time I buy parts and construct my own PC, buy software and install (or re-install) that, and if there's any problems I do the fixing/replacing. Now I know to NEVER get lazy and let those asshats do the work for me.

craazyboy , January 10, 2017 at 2:17 pm

I'm migrating to wrinkle porn, just to be on the safe side. I've also searched for and scrubbed any pizza images off my hard disk.

JTMcPhee , January 10, 2017 at 2:40 pm

Would it be silly to refer to this set of "geeks" as "iPaid iInformants?"

Nothing is ever what it seems. Corruption is everywhere. Murphy and the Second Law and the Ruling Principles of the Universe, accident and error are ascendant and triumphant

bob , January 10, 2017 at 5:58 pm

one more bit-

SDD's. They are harder to delete, in some respects. Some very knowledgeable people have claimed that it's 1) impossible to wipe an SSD, and 2) it's impossible to truly encrypt them because of the way the that the flash controllers interface with the computer. I'm not so sure that it's a flaw.

bob , January 10, 2017 at 6:01 pm

Link to some discussion on this subject-

http://arstechnica.com/civis/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1243475

Elizabeth , January 10, 2017 at 6:16 pm

Yves, thanks for posting this – I thought I couldn't be shocked anymore, but I had no idea this was happening. What's to prevent a Geek Squad employee from planting compromising material on one's computer, if the FBI wants is out to get someone? Nothing is ever really deleted, but how do you prove something wasn't planted? I'm sending this around to my relatives, because they use GS frequently.

I never thought BB/GS would be the new Stasi.

aab , January 10, 2017 at 7:44 pm

Actually, doesn't it make PERFECT SENSE that a large chain retail appliance store with an in-house repair team branded as "geeks" would be EXACTLY the new Stasi? It's sort of perfect.

It's literally the TV show Chuck , only in the real world, the CIA is bad, so Chuck is bad, and Buy More is bad. Which really shouldn't be surprising, if you think about it for two seconds.

On a somewhat related note, the CIA really wants its Russian War, doesn't it? I can't believe mainstream publications are publishing "golden showers" allegations about the incoming President. This can't work, can it? And if it doesn't, won't Trump shut them down the second his hand lifts off the Bible on Inauguration Day? I'm starting to have a lot of respect for Donald Trump on a personal level. I mean, I guess he never anticipated facing this degree of meretricious, toxic nonsense when he got into the race, but he seems to have been forewarned about today's attack.

oho , January 10, 2017 at 10:04 pm

' can't believe mainstream publications are publishing "golden showers" allegations about the incoming President.'

CIA/MI6 + MSM got trolled by 4chan. "Curveball" + yellowcake all over again. except this time it's funny and doesn't involve death and decades of geopolitical fallout.

Please Kek, give Trump the power to clean house at Langley. Praise Kek. Amen.

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