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Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs

Silicon Valley now can be renamed to Surveillance Valley
Mass surveillance is equal to totalitarism:
"if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear"

The slide above is courtesy of The Guardian

News National Security State Recommended Links Big Uncle is Watching You Nephophobia: avoiding clouds to reclaim bits of your privacy Privacy is Dead – Get Over It Is Google evil? "Everything in the Cloud" Utopia
Reconciling Human Rights With Total Surveillance Issues of security and trust in "cloud" env Facebook as Giant Database about Users Blocking Facebook Email security MTA Log Analyzers HTTP Servers Log Analyses Cookie Cutting
Potemkin Villages of Computer Security Total control: keywords in your posts that might trigger surveillance Cyberstalking Search engines privacy How to collect and analyze your own Web activity metadata Steganography Anomaly detection Notes on Search Engines and Google
Malware Spearphishing Podesta emails hack Cyberwarfare Data Stealing Trojans Flame Duqu Trojan Google Toolbar
Nation under attack meme Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? Search engines privacy Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law Nineteen Eighty-Four Edward Snowden as Symbol of Resistance to National Security State Prism-related humor Etc

Due to the size the introductory article was moved to a separate page: Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs

  For details of NSA collection of Internet traffic and major cloud provider data see Big Brother is Watching You

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[Apr 01, 2020] This is the problem with the Democrats: people are more interested in class issues, and economic equality then identity politics by Rod Dreher

Notable quotes:
"... This is the problem with the Democrats. You might be interested in class issues, and economic equality, and not at all interested in wokeness. But what you're going to get is wokeness, because that is what the power-holding class in the Democratic Party really cares about. As James Lindsay, the left-liberal professor who does heroic work fighting wokeness, told me in our recent interview: ..."
"... Of course [Social Justice Warriors] going to find ways to use this crisis to their advantage. They go around inventing problems or dramatically exaggerating or misinterpreting small problems to push their agenda; why wouldn't they do the same in a situation where there's so much chaos and thus so much going wrong. My experience so far is that people are really underestimating how much of this there will be and how much of it will be institutionalized while we're busy doing other things like tending to the sick and dying and trying not to lose our livelihoods and/or join them ourselves. ..."
"... It's very important to understand that "Critical Social Justice" isn't just activism and some academic theories about things. It's a way of thinking about the world, and that way is rooted in critical theory as it has been applied mostly to identity groups and identity politics ..."
Mar 31, 2020 | The American Conservative
George Scialabba has a wonderful essay about Orwell in Commonweal . Though Scialabba writes in it about Orwell's criticism of the right, this passage jumped out:

Might Orwell's sensitive nose have detected a whiff of cant anywhere on the contemporary left? I suspect he would have cast a baleful eye on identity politics. He would, I think, be dubious about "diversity." Why do every college and corporation in America have a fleet of "diversity" officers? What is gained by ensuring -- at enormous expense -- that every student or employee is proud of his/her culture and that every other student or employee respects it? According to Walter Benn Michaels in The Trouble with Diversity, what is gained is the avoidance of class conflict. "The commitment to diversity is at best a distraction and at worst an essentially reactionary position . We would much rather celebrate cultural diversity than seek to establish economic equality."

Orwell was moderately obsessed with class. He would probably have noted that the explosive growth of inequality in the United States over the past four decades has closely paralleled the explosive growth of the diversity industry, and would have drawn some conclusions. He might have asked: If there were two societies with the same Gini coefficient, but in one of them, the proportion of billionaires by race and gender matched that of the general population, would that society be morally better than the other? Or: If the ratio of CEO to median employee earnings was the same in two societies, but in one of them the proportion of CEOs by race and gender matched that of the general population, would that society be morally better than the other? I'm pretty sure that most diversity bureaucrats would answer "yes" to both questions, and that Orwell would have answered "no."

Orwell was fearless, so a tribute to him shouldn't pull any punches. I think he would suggest that there was something irrational about the way we enforce our most sensitive taboo: the N-word. From the wholesale banning of Huckleberry Finn to the many times teachers and civil servants have been censured, and in one case fired, for using the word "niggardly" (which has no etymological relation to the N-word) to the resignation under pressure recently of a Cambridge, Massachusetts, school committeewoman for using the N-word in a discussion of a proposed high-school course about the N-word, we have often made fools of ourselves and done disadvantaged African Americans no good. As the school superintendent summarized the Cambridge case: the committeewoman "made a point about racist language and used the full N-word instead of the common substitute, 'N-word.' Although said in the context of a classroom discussion, and not directed to any student or adult present, the full pronunciation of the word was upsetting to a number of students and adults who were present or who have since heard about the incident." No one, however, as far as I am aware, has publicly expressed hurt feelings over the fact that the average net worth of African Americans in the Boston area is $8. (Eight, no zeros.) As Benn Michaels observes: "As long as the left continues to worry about [respect], the right won't have to worry about inequality."

Read it all.

I wrote earlier today about actually existing conservatism being more of a "folk libertarianism" than anything resembling philosophical conservatism. But what about actually existing liberalism?

The surprising triumph of Joe Biden, the most normie Democrat in America, tells us something about actually existing liberalism. Illiberal progressivism dominates in academia, the media, and in corporate America's human resources departments. A reader sends in this abstract from a paper published by a Penn professor at the Ivy League university's Wharton School of Business (Trump's alma mater!) in which she argues that the state should

forbid identity-based discrimination but permit refusals of service for projects that foster hate toward protected groups, even where the hate-based project is intimately linked to a protected characteristic (as with religious groups that mandate white supremacy). Far from perpetuating discrimination, these refusals instead promote anti-discrimination norms, and they help realize the vision of the morally inflected marketplace that the Article defends.

You could say that Biden's (not yet assured) victory in the Democratic primaries shows that actually existing liberalism is much less interested in wokeness than in bread-and-butter issues. After all, the more self-consciously woke candidates in the Democratic race didn't get anywhere. I would like to read it that way. But would Biden actually stand up to any wokeness? After all, this is the man who tweeted:

Let's be clear: Transgender equality is the civil rights issue of our time. There is no room for compromise when it comes to basic human rights.

-- Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 25, 2020

This is the problem with the Democrats. You might be interested in class issues, and economic equality, and not at all interested in wokeness. But what you're going to get is wokeness, because that is what the power-holding class in the Democratic Party really cares about. As James Lindsay, the left-liberal professor who does heroic work fighting wokeness, told me in our recent interview:

Of course [Social Justice Warriors] going to find ways to use this crisis to their advantage. They go around inventing problems or dramatically exaggerating or misinterpreting small problems to push their agenda; why wouldn't they do the same in a situation where there's so much chaos and thus so much going wrong. My experience so far is that people are really underestimating how much of this there will be and how much of it will be institutionalized while we're busy doing other things like tending to the sick and dying and trying not to lose our livelihoods and/or join them ourselves.

It's very important to understand that "Critical Social Justice" isn't just activism and some academic theories about things. It's a way of thinking about the world, and that way is rooted in critical theory as it has been applied mostly to identity groups and identity politics. Thus, not only do they think about almost nothing except ways that "systemic power" and "dominant groups" are creating all the problems around us, they've more or less forgotten how to think about problems in any other way. The underlying assumption of their Theory–and that's intentionally capitalized because it means a very specific thing–is that the very fabric of society is built out of unjust systemic power dynamics, and it is their job (as "critical theorists") to find those, "make them visible," and then to move on to doing it with the next thing, ideally while teaching other people to do it too. This crisis will be full of opportunities to do that, and they will do it relentlessly. So, it's not so much a matter of them "finding a way" to use this crisis to their advantage as it is that they don't really do anything else.

To be honest, I don't have a lot of confidence in predictions about what valence wokeness (or right-wing culture war themes) will have in this fall's election, given the economic destruction upon us now. I do have confidence, though, that if the left gets into power, this professional class of woke activists will march triumphantly through the institutions of government, and implement their identity-politics utopianism. Do I think that most Democratic voters do, or would, favor that? No, probably not. I imagine they would be voting Democratic primarily to oust Trump, and secondarily because they are more interested in income inequality...

If Orwell were alive today and writing with his superlative critical pen about them, he would struggle to find publication in one of our major liberal journals.

UPDATE: Just now:

I'm sure Critical Social Justice isn't quietly reorganizing things that might matter because of the pandemic Or so I keep being told.

-- James Lindsay, staying home (@ConceptualJames) March 31, 2020

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative . He has written and edited for the New York Post , The Dallas Morning News , National Review , the South Florida Sun-Sentinel , the Washington Times , and the Baton Rouge Advocate . Rod's commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal , Commentary , the Weekly Standard , Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming , Crunchy Cons , How Dante Can Save Your Life , and The Benedict Option

[Mar 24, 2020] Coronovirus and Yevgeny Zamyatin dystopian novel We

See We (novel) - Wikipedia
Mar 24, 2020 |

We is set in the future. D-503, a spacecraft engineer, lives in the One State,[3] an urban nation constructed almost entirely of glass, which assists mass surveillance. The structure of the state is Panopticon-like, and life is scientifically managed F. W. Taylor-style. People march in step with each other and are uniformed. There is no way of referring to people except by their given numbers. The society is run strictly by logic or reason as the primary justification for the laws or the construct of the society.[4][5] The individual's behaviour is based on logic by way of formulas and equations outlined by the One State.[6]

Francis Lee ,

Sounds very much like Yevgeny Zamyatin – We . But we never thought it would happen!

[Mar 23, 2020] Dystopian books and coronavirus

Mar 23, 2020 |

Jay , Mar 23 2020 18:34 utc | 14

In the case of "Brave New World", the establishment knows how to cure pretty much any conventional disease. Then if you're in approved society you die around age 60 because of everything that's kept you alive and looking like 40.

I just read the book last month for the first time in 30+ years. It does belong on that diagram. And "1984" doesn't either, since it really doesn't deal with anything like infectious diseases--reread that about 2 years ago.

I've not read the other 2 outer books ever, but the movie of "Fahrenheit 451", which I just watched and Bradbury certainly had a hand in writing, has nothing to do with infectious disease.

There might be something in Camus' "The Plague" though. Haven't read that since the 1980s.

There aren't food shortages so not sure about the "Soylent Green" reference, yet at least. "Long's Run" is about killing people off at age 35, which I guess overlaps with "kill 80% of the poor workers", something the likes of Charles Koch certainly supports. So indirectly there could be a "Logan's Run" connection.

Gattica is just about favored people with the right genes, so an update of "Brave New World", without the highly literate "savage" as the main character.

I don't see how "The Matrix" relates, that's more about the material world's completeness being an illusion.

"Clockwork Orange?" A thug suppressed with mind control?

Haven't read "Lord of the Flies", but don't the kids worship a god of the island, and justify the horrors they commit based on that conception of god or a god?

[Mar 18, 2020] 1984 the second edition

Mar 18, 2020 |

Obvious cognitive decline is a stutter.

Massive exit poll discrepancies are normal.

An ex-president installing his right-hand man as his successor is democracy.

Facts are Kremlin talking points.

Journalism is a crime.

War is peace.

Freedom is slavery.

Ignorance is strength.


[Mar 10, 2020] Facebook and idiocy of population

Notable quotes:
"... Nothing speaks more loudly of the dumbed down, idiotic, Fakebook groupthink of the age than the current rush to buy toilet roll as a response to the Coronavirus crisis. ..."
Mar 10, 2020 |

Richard , Mar 10 2020 16:40 utc | 150

No need to worry about the corona virus - it'll all be okay as long as you buy enough toilet roll...

Nothing speaks more loudly of the dumbed down, idiotic, Fakebook groupthink of the age than the current rush to buy toilet roll as a response to the Coronavirus crisis.

You've seen it on the tele and (un)social media – supermarket shelves denuded of bog roll and fat birds beating seven shades of sh*t out of each other over the last bag of ass wipe.

I mean, what the hell!? Is this how stupid and pathetic we've become? Someone sees a post on Fakebook that says its a good idea to respond to a potentially fatal virus by buying lots of bog roll and within 5 minutes there's a massive rush on the stuff – after all, you gotta buy it, right, COS IT SAYS SO ON FAKEBOOK...

[Mar 09, 2020] Cookie Monster: the Nuts and Bolts of Online Tracking by Rob Larson

Mar 09, 2020 |
Big Tech has become notorious for its hoarding of its users' personal data, collected with great breadth and down to minute details. Billions have been paid by online platforms to settle legal charges over their invasive and reckless privacy follies. Facebook in particular is associated with this, especially after a series of major scandals involving leaks or hacks of personal data. But Google is inarguably the greediest of these companies in its data collection, to an extent that can surprise even jaded users. This makes sense economically, since the collection of data is a key part of the network effect of online search -- more searches and click data mean algorithms that deliver more accurate searches, attracting more users and searches, in the familiar positive feedback cycle of what economists call "network effects."

From early days, Google held onto all the data it could get its hands on -- who searched for what, what kind of results were likely desired, where searches came from, and so on. A major step in this was the release of Google's email service, Gmail. It caused a large stir itself as users learned the free, high-storage email service served ads on-screen that were targeted to the user by scanning the text of their emails. The scanning was conducted automatically by software algorithms similar to those used to filter out spam from inboxes, but the company was completely unprepared for the backlash, not realizing that their huge scale and power made such moves feel creepier. However the service had a crucial ancillary benefit for the company -- it required a login. With that, Google could cross-reference people's email data with their search history on Google and their YouTube platform (which also required login to post video), along with precise location data from Maps and GPS data from phones running Android -- the beginning of its program to synthesize its data into comprehensive individual profiles.

But the real turning point was the acquisition of the major display ad agency DoubleClick, which brought pivotal changes to the company's "cookies." Cookies are pieces of software planted on your computer or phone by sites as you browse the Web, recording where you've been for the purpose of presenting ads you're likely to be interested in. Cookies are now stupendously widespread -- visiting a typical websites like CNN or can put dozens of them on your PC or phone.

Google's AdSense system had always used these cookies, but the escalation was dramatic, as Wired 's pro-industry reporter Steven Levy wrote covered in his book In the Plex . He reported that the company gained "an omniscient cookie that no other company could match." As a user browses, the cookie:

develops into a rather lengthy log that provides a fully fleshed out profile of the user's interests virtually all of it compiled by stealth. Though savvy and motivated consumers could block or delete the cookies, very few knew about this possibility and even fewer took advantage of it. The information in the DoubleClick cookie was limited, however. It logged visits only to sites that ran DoubleClick's display ads, typically large commercial websites. Many sites on the Internet were smaller ones that didn't use big ad networks Millions of those smaller sites, however, did use an advertising network: Google's AdSense. AdSense had its own cookie, but it was not as snoopy as DoubleClick's. Only when the user actually clicked on an ad would the AdSense cookie log the presence of the user on the site. This 'cookie on click' process was lauded by privacy experts Google now owned an ad network whose business hinged on a cookie that peered over the shoulder of users as it viewed their ads and logged their travels on much of the web. This was no longer a third-party cookie; DoubleClick was Google. Google became the only company with the ability to pull together user data on both the fat head and the long tail of the Internet. The question was, would Google aggregate that data to track the complete activity of Internet users? The answer was yes after FTC regulators approved the DoubleClick purchase, Google quietly made the change that created the most powerful cookie on the Internet. It did away with the AdSense cookie entirely and instead arranged to drop the DoubleClick cookie when someone visited a site with an AdSense ad Now Google would record users' presence when they visited those sites. And it would combine that information with all the other data in the DoubleClick cookie. That single cookie, unique to Google, could track a user to every corner of the Internet.

Amazingly, Google co-founder Sergei Brin dismissed fears about this mega-cookie as "more of the Big Brother type," meaning exaggerated. But even that might be putting a positive gloss on today's data hoarding -- Lawrence Lessig, who has defended the company in areas like its book scanning, noted that in Orwell's book 1984 where Big Brother was introduced, at least the characters "knew where the telescreen was In the Internet, you have no idea who is being watched by whom. In a world where everything is surveilled, how to protect privacy?"

And in 2016, Google went even further by changing its terms of service, asking users to activate new functions that would give them more control over their data, and let Google serve more relevant ads. But what the change did was merge its tracking data with your search history and the personal information in your Gmail/YouTube/Google + accounts, into "super-profiles." And Google wasn't done -- beside using the mega-cookie to record our browsing history, combined with our search logs and Gmail contents, Google "Now Tracks Your Credit Card Purchases and Connects Them to Its Online Profile of You," as a recent MIT Technology Review headline indicates. By contracting with third party data firms that track 70% of all credit and debit card purchases, Google can now offer advertisers further confirmation of which ads are working, not just to the point of clicking but to the point of sale.

With its new TOS, Google does let users view some of the data it holds on them, but it takes "an esoteric process of clicks," as Ken Auletta put it in his book Googled , and again most users are unaware of these issues in the first place, and since we're opted in, most fail to view their data files. Additionally, each Google service has its own privacy terms and settings, and they change without warning, so we have to be constantly vigilant for their changes and subtleties. And Google joins the tech community in its use of "dark patterns," repetitive tactics that wear down users into allowing data access. And finally, even opting-out of customization doesn't end the data collection, just the use of it to target ads to you -- your movements, browsing, searching, emailing and credit card buying are all still compiled. In time Google announced it would soon stop the unpopular scanning of Gmail text to place ads -- the catch was that the company had enough data on users from its super-profiles that it could personalize them without the scanning.

And for all its hoarding, the pile isn't secure -- Google had allowed software developers to design applications like games for Google +, the company's unsuccessful attempt to compete with Facebook in social media. But a glitch in the software allowed developers access to private portions of Google + user profiles over a three-year period before its discovery, including full names, email, gender, pictures, locations, occupation and marital status. An internal memo indicates that as with Facebook's own developer data leaks, there's no way to know if the data was misused in any way. But most important, Google learned of the issue in spring 2018 but refused to announce or disclose it, fearing "reputational damage" to itself.

Whatever this company is, it rhymes with "shmevil."

Rob Larson is a professor of economics at Tacoma Community College and author of Capitalism vs. Freedom: The Toll Road to Serfdom

[Mar 07, 2020] Intel security flaw

Mar 07, 2020 |

WobblyTelomeres , March 6, 2020 at 3:00 pm

Re Intel security flaw

Interviewed there in the 90s. Hiring manager picked me up at the hotel, took me out to dinner and told me, flat out, that he was NSA. I doubt it has changed much.

(I said, to myself, "f*ck this", flagged the waiter and ordered the most expensive cab on the menu, then another)

Lambert Strether Post author , March 7, 2020 at 3:27 am

> told me, flat out, that he was NSA.

Ha ha! I posted this only this morning:

Uncovering The CIA's Audacious Operation That Gave Them Access To State Secrets (interview) WaPo. "So we end up with ostensibly private company that is secretly owned by two intelligence services." That company is probably just an outlier , even though this operation is presented as incredibly successful.

I've helpfully underlined the irony. I should add Surveillance Valley to my reading list, I suppose

[Feb 25, 2020] Long arms of Uncle Sam

Feb 25, 2020 |

TJ , Feb 23 2020 15:50 utc | 10

@3 Likklemore

UK minister who approved Trump's request to extradite Assange spoke at secretive US conferences with people calling for him to be "neutralized"

REVEALED: Chief magistrate in Assange case received financial benefits from secretive partner organisations of UK Foreign Office

Likklemore , Feb 23 2020 16:36 utc | 19

TJ @ 9

Thank you. Expect some meaty revelations during Extradition proceedings tomorrow 24th. Ecuador was recording ALL visitors conversations with Assange

Assange to Testify on Being Recorded in Embassy in London

1 Dec.2019
Recordings have emerged of private conversations that Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, had while living in the Ecuadorean Embassy. He and a Spanish prosecutor blame the United States.[.]

These recordings should be subpoenaed.

[Feb 23, 2020] An important difference

Feb 23, 2020 |

Jacqueline Grace , 2 months ago

It's not "your tube"'s "their tube".

[Feb 22, 2020] I understand "social media" literally in the Orwellian sense, it is "social" media just like war is peace. The true meaning is "asocial media" which prevents real interaction, and is under complete control by big brother: you can become a non-person at any moment.

Feb 22, 2020 |

Norwegian , Feb 22 2020 19:12 utc | 66

Posted by: Bemildred | Feb 22 2020 13:41 utc | 20
The "social" is "social media" is in contrast to "professional" or "business" or "commercial" media, i.e. the MSM and other commercial media.

I understand "social media" literally in the Orwellian sense, it is "social" media just like war is peace. The true meaning is "asocial media" which prevents real interaction, and under complete control by big brother, you can become a non-person at any moment.

[Feb 14, 2020] Why the USA is fighting Huawei without offering any super alternative

Feb 14, 2020 |

james , Feb 11 2020 20:13 utc | 13

thanks shortage of hypocrisy in all this...

regarding @ 4 mike r which @8 ian2 linked properly to, i enjoyed the last paragraph which i think sums it up well.. here it is..

"I continue to believe that the United States cannot effectively restrict the spread of a technology under Chinese leadership without offering a superior product of its own. The fact that the United States has attempted to suppress Huawei's market leadership in the absence of any American competitor in this field is one of the oddest occurrences in the history of US foreign policy. If the US were to announce something like a Manhattan Project for 5G broadband and solicit the cooperation of its European and Asian allies, it probably would get an enthusiastic response. As matters stand, America's efforts to stop Huawei have become an embarrassment."

Petri Krohn , Feb 11 2020 20:38 utc | 16

The reason European customers trust Huawei is because Huawei uses open-source software or at least makes their code available for inspection by customers.

Closed-source software cannot provide secrecy or security. This was vividly demonstrated last month when NSA revealed a critical vulnerability in Windows 10 that rendered any cryptographic security worthless.

Critical Windows 10 vulnerability used to Rickroll the NSA and Github

Rashid's simulated attack exploits CVE-2020-0601, the critical vulnerability that Microsoft patched on Tuesday after receiving a private tipoff from the NSA. As Ars reported, the flaw can completely break certificate validation for websites, software updates, VPNs, and other security-critical computer uses. It affects Windows 10 systems, including server versions Windows Server 2016 and Windows Server 2019. Other versions of Windows are unaffected.

The flaw involves the way the new versions of Windows check the validity of certificates that use elliptic-curve cryptography. While the vulnerable Windows versions check three ECC parameters, they fail to verify a fourth, crucial one, which is known as a base point generator and is often represented in algorithms as 'G.' This failure is a result of Microsoft's implementation of ECC rather than any flaw or weakness in the ECC algorithms themselves.

The attacker examines the specific ECC algorithm used to generate the root-certificate public key and proceeds to craft a private key that copies all of the certificate parameters for that algorithm except for the point generator. Because vulnerable Windows versions fail to check that parameter, they accept the private key as valid. With that, the attacker has spoofed a Windows-trusted root certificate that can be used to mint any individual certificate used for authentication of websites, software, and other sensitive properties.

I do not believe this vulnerability was a bug. It is more likely a backdoor intentionally left in the code for NSA to utilize. Whatever the case, NSA must have known about it for years. Why did they reveal it now? Most likely someone else had discovered the back door and may have been about to publish it.

(I commented on these same issues on Sputnik a few weeks ago.)

Piotr Berman , Feb 11 2020 23:04 utc | 25
The other possible US objection is that Huawei will only let their customers spy, not third countries.

Posted by: Paul Cockshott | Feb 11 2020 21:57 utc | 24

It reminds me a joke about Emperor Napoleon arriving in a town. The population, the notables and the mayor are greeting him, and the Emperor says "No gun salute, hm?". Mayor replies "Sire, we have twenty reasons. Fist, we have canons", "Enough", replied Napoleon.

Isn't the "other possible US objection" exactly "Enough"? Of course, USA is not a mere "third country", USA is the rule maker of rule based international order.

[Feb 14, 2020] UN Special Rapporteur on Torture,- Nils Melzer, speaks in detail about the explosive findings of his investigation into the case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange

Feb 14, 2020 |

Likklemore , Feb 12 2020 21:54 utc | 72

@ james 43

The UK position? In a heart beat, Boris will trade Assange for a US-UK trade deal. The lack of UK journalists' support for Assange is telling. Spineless media critters failed Assange..

The Truth About Julian Assange

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture,- Nils Melzer, speaks in detail about the explosive findings of his investigation into the case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange

A made-up rape allegation and fabricated evidence in Sweden, pressure from the UK not to drop the case, a biased judge, detention in a maximum security prison, psychological torture – and soon extradition to the U.S., [.]

This interview was conducted by Swiss Journalist Daniel Ryser, Yves Bachmann (Photos) and Charles Hawley (Translation), 31.01.2020.
Let's start at the beginning: What led you to take up the case?

In December 2018, I was asked by his lawyers to intervene. I initially declined. I was overloaded with other petitions and wasn't really familiar with the case. My impression, largely influenced by the media, was also colored by the prejudice that Julian Assange was somehow guilty and that he wanted to manipulate me. In March 2019, his lawyers approached me for a second time because indications were mounting that Assange would soon be expelled from the Ecuadorian Embassy. They sent me a few key documents and a summary of the case and I figured that my professional integrity demanded that I at least take a look at the material.

And then?

It quickly became clear to me that something was wrong. That there was a contradiction that made no sense to me with my extensive legal experience: Why would a person be subject to nine years of a preliminary investigation for rape without charges ever having been filed?

Is that unusual?

I have never seen a comparable case. Anyone can trigger a preliminary investigation against anyone else by simply going to the police and accusing the other person of a crime. The Swedish authorities, though, were never interested in testimony from Assange. They intentionally left him in limbo. Just imagine being accused of rape for nine-and-a-half years by an entire state apparatus and by the media without ever being given the chance to defend yourself because no charges had ever been filed.

You say that the Swedish authorities were never interested in testimony from Assange. But the media and government agencies have painted a completely different picture over the years: Julian Assange, they say, fled the Swedish judiciary in order to avoid being held accountable.

That's what I always thought, until I started investigating. The opposite is true. Assange reported to the Swedish authorities on several occasions because he wanted to respond to the accusations. But the authorities stonewalled.[...]


And then, they came for me.

[Feb 14, 2020] 5G isn't for us (humans), it's for the Internet Of Things (IoT). Which - to me - is an even better argument to avoid 5G

Feb 14, 2020 |

snake , Feb 12 2020 8:56 utc | 48

Thanks for the narrative your article is excellent one more piece of the puzzle. follows.
US, German spies plundered global secrets via Swiss encryption firm:
Report Names names of companies involved.
If the link does not work just url to for the article.

One more example of how Mobsters are using the nation state as a platform to conduct their controlled, targeted and authenticated access to, every human in the world. The people are contained within one of the nation state franchises, each a part of the 20 6 nation state system franchises that divides 206 people into separate, but not independent containers under one organized and coordinated roof. The nation state system has prevented the humanity across the globe from becoming democratic. No matter the innocence of the nation state platform, it is the franchised nature of the organization [the nation state system] to which each individual nation state belongs and is a part of, that provides the mobsters with an efficient platform from which to conduct their crimes against humanity and to impose their mind control technologies. .

ralphieboy , Feb 12 2020 11:54 utc | 50

Advocates of the Free Market like to pretend that there is a clear distinction between the workings of government and the workings of corporations and individuals. But they are deeply and inexorably interlinked and there can be no study of economics without politics and no study of politics without economics.
Some Random Passerby , Feb 12 2020 12:48 utc | 51
@43 A User

It's safe to assume this sort of thing has been going on for a long time. Even before computers made everything that much harder.

The BBC operated a system where a Christmas tree was used as a marker. If you had this on your file, you were going nowhere.

BBC Political Vetting

div> The Huawei equipment will have NSA monitors installed before they're installed. They made a point of boasting about that process some 15 years ago. The US companies are using the issue because they're behind Huawei.

Posted by: Les , Feb 12 2020 15:25 utc | 55

The Huawei equipment will have NSA monitors installed before they're installed. They made a point of boasting about that process some 15 years ago. The US companies are using the issue because they're behind Huawei.

Posted by: Les | Feb 12 2020 15:25 utc | 55

elkern , Feb 12 2020 16:32 utc | 57
To me, the real question is "why 5G"? No human can talk or type fast enough to need more bandwidth for text or phone.

I finally got an answer which makes sense, from a tech-savvy friend: 5G isn't for us (humans), it's for the Internet Of Things (IoT). Which - to me - is an even better argument to avoid 5G. IMO, running control systems through the internet is stupid & dangerous. Spying is a relatively benign problem; and I'm not even really that worried about hacking (who's gonna hack my dishwasher? why?).

To me, the real problems are (1) proliferation of pathways for failure ("cloud"-burst!), (2) stupid interfaces (dials & buttons are better than Apps), and worst (3) increased Corporate control (software licensing fees, forced upgrades, right-to-repair, etc).

So, Huawei, whoever, whatever, I say screw 'em all, screw the IoT, screw 5G. Sell me simple Things with local controls which won't stop working when somebody plugs (or unplugs) something somewhere else.

OTOH, yeah, it's time for another Church Commission - with bigger teeth - to get the CIA back (?) under control. Review Financial Assets as well as covert atrocities. But, uh, good luck with that.

c1ue , Feb 12 2020 17:40 utc | 58
@uncle tungsten #22
The thing to keep in mind with VPN is that it addresses one of 3 security areas (concerning data): Data in Transit. The only thing VPN does is make it difficult for someone to sample your internet traffic bits to see what's in them.

Data at Rest and Data at Work are not affected. For example, if you use a VPN to connect to MoA - no one along the path can see what you're doing, but your browser knows; your computer knows; your internet router knows; MoA knows; MoA's hosting provider knows.

As for F-Secure and its VPN:

Pft , Feb 12 2020 19:09 utc | 59
On its surface it seems non-sensible to call out someone from doing what you do. However, it serves the purpose of promoting the illusion China and US are on different sides . Its fake wrestling promotion. Working together to spy on you. When caught, they point the finger at the other guy or claim they need to do it to protect you from them.

Don't trust the US? Buy Huawei, and not only are you not protected but you get special attention for buying Huawei in a futile attempt for privacy from US prying eyes (but opening your curtain to give China a peak). Carry on.

arby , Feb 12 2020 19:15 utc | 60
Pft, you got any evidence to back up your statement that China is having a peak?

There is considerable evidence that the US is but I have yet to see any that implicates Huawei or China.

c1ue , Feb 12 2020 21:06 utc | 62
I forgot to add: something like 0.6% of Internet traffic, ditto emails, are non-standard encrypted: i.e. VPN or PGP. So using these services primarily just highlights you for the surveillance people as a "person of interest".
Esteban , Feb 12 2020 21:14 utc | 63
In Switzerland we're experiencing an enourmous outrage regarding the Crypto AG company. Even tough Swiss MSM and Alt-Media revealed the foul play of the company in the past, the public outcry is astonishing. Politicians are now demanding to form a Parliamentary Investigation Commission. This timely set trans-atlantic coordination of WaPo, German ZDF and Swiss National TV SRF is more than odd. Is it really about Huawei and how does Switzerland fit in this circumstance? Could the clever readership of this fantastic site enlighten me?

[Feb 14, 2020] How Surveillance Capitalism Targets the Vulnerable

Feb 14, 2020 |

How Surveillance Capitalism Targets the Vulnerable

Google and Facebook are making handsome profits off of the elderly, the lonely, and the depressed. Credit: pressmaster/Shutterstock

February 11, 2020


1:01 pm

Grayson Logue Surrounded by chips, dip, beer, and some delicious chicken chili, I tuned in to the Super Bowl excited to see not only the game but whatever meme-worthy commercials corporate America had dreamed up. Among those was an ad for Google Home, a smart speaker and voice assistant. In it, an elderly gentleman spoke with his Google Home about his deceased wife Loretta, asking the device to remind him of their favorite memories, show him old photos and home videos of their time together, and even play their favorite movie Casablanca.

Yet what struck me was what was absent in the picture -- any other people. Let's imagine a different scene: an elderly gentleman is sitting on his couch showing an old photo album to his granddaughter while his son tees up the VHS of grandma and grandpa during their 20th anniversary, vacationing in Sitka, Alaska. The picture is quite different, though interestingly, it's been used in the past by Google in its commercials.

In their 2017 Super Bowl ad , Google portrayed its home assistant, not as a central character, but as a simple aide among joyful scenes filled with friends and family, dimming the lights as a group of friends prepare for a birthday surprise, playing a recording of whales as a father reads a storybook to his daughter.

No doubt Google was trying to strike that same tone in this year's ad, flashing the text "a little help with the little things" across the screen at the close of the spot. Nonetheless, the ad landed flat, at least at my Super Bowl party. Yet it also reflected something important: the progression of popular thought about the role of tech in our lives.

Once, we believed that putting voice assistants in our homes and pockets offered only more convenience. We justified our time on social networks, believing that seeing a wider range of friends and family through screens and texts, rather than hearing their voices or being with them in person, was actually drawing us closer, connecting us more deeply to our relationships with each other. Now, more and more people are coming to realize that these devices, services, and the culture they've created contributes more to feelings of placelessness, anxiety, and isolation than meaningful connectedness and relationships.

According to data from the Pew Research Center in 2018, 74 percent of Facebook users have taken steps to distance themselves from the platform over the past 12 months, by adjusting their privacy settings, taking a break from the service, or deleting the app on their phone. Young people (ages 18 to 29) are the most likely to take these actions, while those 65 and older are least likely. Since the elderly represent the last generation that smartphones and social media have reached, it follows that they would be the last to take these steps.

Additional Pew data fills in more of the picture. The average older American spends over half of the waking day alone. And between 2005 and 2015, the average time spent on screens for Americans over 60 has increased, while time spent socializing, reading, and other leisure activities has decreased. This timeline overlaps with the shift in internet use among those 65 and older. Twenty years ago, only 14 percent of 65-and-older Americans used the internet, but now 73 percent are internet users and 53 percent own a smartphone. While the elderly might have showed up late to the internet and smartphones, there's no reason to be believe they will be immune to the consequences that young people in particular are now beginning to understand.

And the problems of our digital landscape are even wider than most people imagine.

In reality, this landscape, termed " surveillance capitalism " by Shoshana Zuboff of Harvard Business School, is not limited to just Google or Facebook or any one technology they employ. Rather, surveillance capitalism is a larger system of economic thought and practice that runs on the conscious and deliberate manipulation of the human experience. Zuboff writes :

Surveillance capitalists discovered that the most predictive data come from intervening in human action to coax, tune, herd, and modify behavior in the direction of guaranteed outcomes. This new species of power works remotely, engineering subliminal cues, social comparison dynamics, rewards and punishments, and varieties of enforcers to shape behavior that aligns with its commercial interests.

According to a leaked Facebook document in 2017, the company presented psychological data to advertisers on over 6 million young Australians and New Zealanders. Facebook could tell when these users felt "worthless," "insecure," "stressed," and "anxious" and target ads for "moments when young people need a confidence boost." Facebook denied that the information was actually used for ad targeting, but regardless, it clearly has models and data for when and how to manipulate people's emotional states to make them most likely to take a profitable action without them ever knowing.

While virtually everyone is affected by surveillance capitalism, the consequences become particularly clear when the victims are the elderly, the young, the lonely, and the depressed.

How hard would it be for Google to use the voice recordings it receives from Google Home to induce ad-based behavior modification, something it did for years by scanning email correspondence in Gmail? The corporation is already taking initial steps to monetize its smart assistant. If this were the case, a more accurate ad spot wouldn't end with an elderly man asking for reminders about memories of his late wife. It would end with an AI model analyzing recordings of the man and determining when is the optimal time to place a flight discount ad to his late wife's favorite vacation spot. Perhaps that ad placement time would be targeted to when he was at his lowest emotional state.

We live in a world where it's very possible that Google and Facebook know more about the emotions of our grandparents than we do, and that should deeply disturb us. After all, the negative effects of a ubiquitous cultural problem are typically felt the most by the vulnerable; technology and the elderly are no different. It's time we reflected on the consequences of our pervasive digital culture.

Grayson Logue is a writer living in New York and a contributor to Providence Magazine.

[Feb 10, 2020] Why You May Never Learn the Truth About Anything in Washington

Feb 10, 2020 |

run75441 | February 9, 2020 7:00 pm

History Politics I hang around some pretty intelligent people who have smart friends commenting on their facebook pages. The first part of this post is from a comment on Claude Scales's Facebook page by William R. Everdell. I think it fits with the NYT article Claude referenced. The second part of this is a shorten version of the NYT Opinion article "Why You May Never Learn the Truth About ICE," Matthew Connelly, Professor of History, Columbia.

George Orwell in "'1984', Winston Smith was dropping documents into the 'memory hole' by his desk at the Ministry of Truth – Minitrue

'Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.'

[Feb 02, 2020] Great article on cell phone spoofing to create a traffic jam on Google maps

Feb 02, 2020 |

c1ue , Feb 2 2020 19:02 utc | 19

Great article on cell phone spoofing to create a traffic jam on Google maps.
Imagine if you had a Chinese cell phone clickbait farm to do it instead.
Turn on developer options, feed in location, suppress flags and warnings, voila!
No more annoying Waze driving coming through your residential neighborhood.

[Feb 01, 2020] Brexit means that Oceania is born!

Feb 01, 2020 |

FSD , Jan 31 2020 19:59 utc | 28

Britain has finally made the Orwellian Pivot. Brazil is Bolsonaro-fied, Mexico and Canada are USMCA-ed, Venezuela will be MAGA-cized. The Monroe Doctrine is growing carnivorous incisors. Oceania is born!

Qparticle , Feb 1 2020 17:27 utc | 114

No wonder banker boy Macron has been nice to Vlad lately, time to go east...

Posted by: Paco | Feb 1 2020 7:36 utc | 84
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Hee hee hee! ;)

Continued at Internet privacy bulletin, 2020