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Nederlog


  March
1, 2014
Crisis: Webcam spying * 2, internet security, safe(r) software, personal
   "They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
   -- Benjamin Franklin [1]
   "All governments lie and nothing
   they say should be believed.
"
   -- I.F. Stone.
   "Power tends to corrupt, and   
   absolute power corrupts
   absolutely. Great men are        
   almost always bad men."
   -- Lord Acton
















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Sections
Introduction

1. Senators to investigate NSA role in GCHQ 'Optic Nerve'
     webcam spying

2. Peeping Webcam? With NSA Help, British Spy Agency
     Intercepted Millions of Yahoo Chat Image

3.
Meet the seven people who hold the keys to worldwide
     internet security

4. Snowden made cyber-geek nightmares true. Can
     'private' be normal again?

5. Personal
About ME/CFS

Introduction:

This is the crisis item in the Nederlog of March 1, 2014. It's Saturday today, but I found four items, which I say because there have been Saturdays on which I found nothing.

This continues the story on the peeping webcam that the GCHQ abuses to steal everybody's webcam pictures (including some 10% nude pictures, which gives them the means to subtly blackmail people); a somewhat obscure article on internet security; while item 4 probably is the most interesting today, since it charts three items that can be used for safer networking.

1. Senators to investigate NSA role in GCHQ 'Optic Nerve' webcam spying

The first article is by Spencer Ackerman in the Guardian:
This article starts as follows (and continues a story I reported on yesterday):

Three US senators are planning to investigate any role the National Security Agency played in its British partner’s mass collection of Yahoo webcam images.

Reacting to the Guardian’s revelation on Thursday that UK surveillance agency GCHQ swept up millions of Yahoo users’ webcam chats, senators Ron Wyden, Mark Udall and Martin Heinrich said in a joint statement that “any involvement of US agencies in the alleged activities reported today will need to be closely scrutinized”.

The senators described the interception as a “breathtaking lack of respect for privacy and civil liberties”.

Well, yes indeed - but this is not the only thing: It seems by this time quite obvious that the NSA and the GCHQ do not specifically assemble data of terrorists to fight terrorism, as they have claimed since 2001, but that they assemble everyone's data so that the state can exercise state terrorism on everyone who objects to them.

This has been clear to me since 2005 (<- Dutch), that was then based on the enormous differences between the real and great dangers during the Cold War with the Soviet Union on the one hand, when there were enormous professional armies with atom bombs some 200 kilometer from the Dutch borders, but no one had to carry identity papers, and the comparatively hardly existing "dangers" of "Al Qaeda" on the other hand, that does not have any professional army nor any atom bombs, but that was claimed to be, without any evidence, to require every Dutchman to carry identity-papers all the time, that one also has to pay for oneself, and that now also is supposed to justify the stealing of all of everyone's data, including the pictures one's webcams make.



Well... I am sorry but I must regard this as laying the foundations for a fascist terrorist state [2], by the spy masters of the American and British governments, for there simply is no other rational explanation for what they are doing.

2.  Peeping Webcam? With NSA Help, British Spy Agency Intercepted Millions of Yahoo Chat Images

The next article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:
I like the title, and this is from the beginning of the article:
A new report based on top-secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden reveals the National Security Agency and its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, may have peered into the lives of millions of Internet users who were not suspected of wrongdoing. A surveillance program codenamed "Optic Nerve" compiled still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and stored them in GCHQ’s databases with help from the NSA. In one six-month period in 2008 alone, the agency reportedly amassed webcam images from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts worldwide.

The program was reportedly used for experiments in "automated facial recognition" as well as to monitor terrorism suspects. A more accurate name for the "Optic Nerve" program may have been "Peeping Tom," because it ended up collecting a large number of sexually explicit images. According to the documents, between 3 and 11 percent of the Yahoo webcam images contained what the GCHQ called "undesirable nudity." Yahoo responded to the news by denying any prior knowledge of the program, saying the spy agencies had, quote, "reached a whole new level of violation of our users’ privacy."

Amy Goodman is quite right: These are peeping Toms who secretly spy on your webcam, whoever you are, whatever your relations to the state; of course they like the nudity they find, whatever the pretense; and most importantly:

This shows they are tracing all data of everyone, because they are laying the foundations for a fascist and terrorist state, that already partially exists in the US and Great Britain, and that also pays them from tax money to do so, and seeks to prevent any openness about anything they do.

There is a lot more in the article, but this is what it comes down to, in my opinion.

3.
  Meet the seven people who hold the keys to worldwide internet security 

The next article is by James Ball (who got interviewed in the article in the previous item) and is in the Guardian:

I must say this is a fairly long article that has the following subject:

The keyholders have been meeting four times a year, twice on the east coast of the US and twice here on the west, since 2010. Gaining access to their inner sanctum isn't easy, but last month I was invited along to watch the ceremony and meet some of the keyholders – a select group of security experts from around the world. All have long backgrounds in internet security and work for various international institutions. They were chosen for their geographical spread as well as their experience – no one country is allowed to have too many keyholders. They travel to the ceremony at their own, or their employer's, expense.

What these men and women control is the system at the heart of the web: the domain name system, or DNS. This is the internet's version of a telephone directory – a series of registers linking web addresses to a series of numbers, called IP addresses.

Also, I did not quite get what all the security that got reported is for. That is, I understand part of it, but I also know that in 2009 my computer was hacked, quite seriously also, by a bunch of criminals who advertised they where on "anywhere", which seemed to be a net that is under or apart from the ordinary internet, and that is maintained by criminal hackers, in order to make money.

It so happened that I had distrusted a download and then saw it happening that my computer was totally taken over, and when I tried to stop it in several ways the whole computer was completely killed, which also made disappear most of seven years of work.

I do not know whether their advertisement was real, and I do not know many other things I should much like to know, but I do know my computer was hacked, and it was hacked by professionals.

4. Snowden made cyber-geek nightmares true. Can 'private' be normal again?

Finally for today, an article by Dan Gillmor om the Guardian:
This starts as follows:

In the nearly nine months since the Edward Snowden revelations began on this website, some of the most jaw-dropping surveillance news has involved a company called RSA, which for years has been one of the top computer security firms in the world. Boiled down, RSA is alleged to have weakened a core element of a widely used encryption product at the behest of the National Security Agency, receiving $10 million in the process of providing a “back door” for government snooping.

RSA issued what amounted to a non-denial denial after Reuters’ Joseph Menn broke a key part of the story back in December. This week, at its annual cyber-security conference here in San Francisco, the company was on defense at an event usually reserved for looking forward, not back. Its CEO said that any weakness was inadvertent, at least on RSA’s part, and not the result of some nefarious deal with the US government. Respected cryptographer and university professor Matt Blaze summed it up nicely: “Everyone to RSA: Did you deliberately sell us out, or are you incompetent? RSA: We’re incompetent”.
It seems to me they said they are incompetent because that sounds less bad than being corrupt, but if you are being paid $10 million, it seems more likely to me that you are corrupt.

Here is more, on the present state of computing, with my bolding:

Hypponen, a rock star in the computer security world, gave the opening keynote at TrustyCon instead. It was a pessimistic assessment of technology users’ chances to have a computing and communications they can genuinely trust in an age when nation-states have taken over as the most dangerous – even malicious – hackers on Earth.

“Our worst fears turned out to be fairly accurate,” Hypponen said of what’s transpired in the security world over the past few years. And he’s right: in the past nine months, it’s become clear that many of the people once derided as paranoid were, if anything, understating the reality of how much we’re all being watched. Certainly, Thursday’s revelation on this website that spy services had become outright peeping toms by hijacking webcam images would have sounded ridiculous not so long ago.

Then again, it seems there is happening something - at long last, I must say - to make data on the internet more secure. There are several new programs that I take from the article, but I link to Wikipedia:
  • First, there is SecureDrop: According to Wikileaks "SecureDrop uses the anonymity network, Tor, to facilitate communication between whistleblowers, journalists, and news organizations. SecureDrop sites are therefore only accessible as hidden services in the Tor network."
  • Second, there is TextSecure: According to Wikileaks "Textsecure is a secure instant messaging and text messaging application for Android. It is intended to be used in place of the standard text messaging application."
  • Third, there is Blackphone: According to Wikipedia (minus two footnotes) "Blackphone is an announced smartphone developed by the makers of GeeksPhone, Silent Circle, and PGP that will provide encryption for phone calls, emails, texts, and internet browsing. It will provide internet access through VPN. The phone runs on a modified version of AndroidPrivatOS."
The last item - a phone - will cost 629 dollars, but it is by PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), and it may be safe, and it can be bought now.

In any case: these are good developments, that also show that something can be done against the NSA and the GCHQ. I have no experience of any of these (and I also do not want a cell phone, and never had one: I dislike phones and like my own privacy a lot), but at least one now can do something to make it a lot more difficult for one's data to be picked up by terrorists who are paid by the state.
 
5. Personal

Again I have done some more work, but didn't finish, so you'll have to wait a few more days for Chamfort's chapter III in my translation, and for a re-upload of the ME-section, that will - surprise! - also include a new and improved MMonMEonPR, since this still seems to interest some, and so far was not finished properly.

I will not write about ME/CFS on any site that is not mine, at least not until there arrives a good new scientific explanation for my disease, and I also absolutely refuse to cooperate with anybody whose real name and real address are not known to me, but since there still appears to be some interest in what I wrote on Phoenix Rising (that I removed in 2010), and since my health is a bit better, I will update that part. I do not think it is important, but I did write it, and there also are a few nice bits in it.
---------------------------------
Notes
[1] Here it is necessary to insist, with Aristotle, that the governors do not rule, or at least, should not rule: The laws rule, and the government, if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn Greenwald:
It is more proper that law should govern than any one of the citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place the supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and the servants of the laws.
(And I note the whole file I quote from is quite pertinent.)

[2]
I have learned all of four things at the University of Amsterdam:
1. "everybody knows that truth does not exist"
2. "everybody knows that objective science is an illusion"
3. "everybody knows rational thinking is not morally justified"

for these postmodernistic sick superstittions were taught nearly everywhere and by many (see: 39 Questions) from 1971-1995, and I learned specifically about myself:
4. "I am a fascist terrorist"

according to 16 academic sadistic and fascistic terrorist professors and lecturers of philosophy, and according to the fascist terrorist Board of Directors of the University of Amsterdam, that kicked me from the faculty of philosophy, as the only student since 1945, briefly before taking my M.A. in philosophy, and "because of your published opinions" and in spite of my illness (that the sadistic and fascistic terrorists of the Board of Directors explicitly raised, in great sadistic joy).
Since I also learned that "everybody knows everybody is equivalent" in Holland,
and since my father and grandfather were "political terrorists" who were convicted to the concentration camp, which my grandfather did not survive, and since I believe the NSA is implementing a fascist plan I think my terminology gives them all the honors they deserve...

About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which is a disease I have since 1.1.1979:
1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

2. Malcolm Hooper THE MENTAL HEALTH MOVEMENT:  
PERSECUTION OF PATIENTS?
3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
9.
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)



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