Tag Archives: Glenn Greenwald

Brits employ hacking into social media accounts as tool of National Defense

Media mogul Glenn Beck talks about government spoofing of private social media on his radio show.

Media mogul Glenn Beck talks about government spoofing of private social media on his radio show.

How much do you trust your government to do the right thing with your privacy and your freedom of speech? British citizens are finding out now that the answer to that question should be, “not very much”! It seems that a super-secret British spy agency is publishing a menu of options they have to provide politicians to hack into the social media accounts of citizens in the name of national security.

 

I learned about this first listening to Glenn Beck and have found creditable confirmation on a number of other websites. You can see Glenn’s comments on this issue here. Glenn Greenwald has an article here with a full description of the British government’s Internet capabilities. I’ve included the list here verbatim:

• “Change outcome of online polls” (UNDERPASS)

• “Mass delivery of email messaging to support an Information Operations campaign” (BADGER) and “mass delivery of SMS messages to support an Information Operations campaign” (WARPARTH)

• “Disruption of video-based websites hosting extremist content through concerted target discovery and content removal.” (SILVERLORD)

• “Active skype capability. Provision of real time call records (SkypeOut and SkypetoSkype) and bidirectional instant messaging. Also contact lists.” (MINIATURE HERO)

• “Find private photographs of targets on Facebook” (SPRING BISHOP)

• “A tool that will permanently disable a target’s account on their computer” (ANGRY PIRATE)

• “Ability to artificially increase traffic to a website” (GATEWAY) and “ability to inflate page views on websites” (SLIPSTREAM)

• “Amplification of a given message, normally video, on popular multimedia websites (Youtube)” (GESTATOR)

• “Targeted Denial Of Service against Web Servers” (PREDATORS FACE) and “Distributed denial of service using P2P. Built by ICTR, deployed by JTRIG” (ROLLING THUNDER)

• “A suite of tools for monitoring target use of the UK auction site eBay (www.ebay.co.uk)” (ELATE)

• “Ability to spoof any email address and send email under that identity” (CHANGELING)

• “For connecting two target phone together in a call” (IMPERIAL BARGE)

Now it would be great fun if you were computer hacker employed by the British or American governments monitoring the Internet activity of groups like Al Qaeda or ISIS. After all, they love to post videos of their exploits against the West there, videos for example of them blowing up American Soldiers or lopping off the heads of Christians and Jews and plopping them on spikes! Wouldn’t it be great if instead of going to the intended video posted by the terrorists, you would instead be misdirected to a video of an old lady power walking or Afghani Muslims humping a goat before getting blown up by a JDAM laser guided missile? I think it would be hilarious, but that is not likely to happen given the current political climate.

Instead of the above scenario, imagine something a little more realistic. Say you are a conservative blogger who doesn’t like Barack Obama much. Perhaps you don’t like the way he plays golf as the world burns; he sides with Palestinian terrorists instead of a free and democratic Israel; he allows Russia to run amok in Ukraine while shooting down Malaysian airliners; he invites millions of undocumented immigrants to flood the border while selling guns and other weapons to the drug coyotes who are bringing them over; he’s destroyed the economy with Obamacare; allowed an innocent Marine to rot in a Mexican prison and allowed his IRS and Justice Departments to target people who don’t agree with him. Because you have a dream of an idealized America with freedom for all, you’ve taken it upon yourself to remark on the many arrogant missteps of your government in your $5 blog and now you’ve raised the attention of the NSA, whose boss is the very president who you’ve been criticizing all this time, and he doesn’t like it.

So now the NSA or its British equivalent if you happen to be a Brit, has a solution to shut you up. They can use government paid hackers they retain on staff to hack your computer and implant hours and hours of child porn, while the FBI or IRS fabricate a reason to get a search warrant for your house and computer. And bam, you’re sitting in front of a judge and a jury with your government provided defense attorney who is late for his golf game with the president defending yourself against a child porn rap while all the time maintaining your innocence. Scary huh? And your only defense to a skeptical jury is, “I don’t look at that crap! I have no idea how it got there!”

Nice huh! And it’s not out of the way too much to imagine is it. See, when it’s just you, who is going to believe that you don’t look at child porn, or that you’ve hatched a scheme to overthrow the government or that you are cheating on your wife or whatever. You’re just you. In the meanwhile the government has all the legal machinery available to them in the form of any number of alphabet soup type agencies with which to go after you: i.e. the IRS, the DOJ, the NSA, the FBI. You’re bad and you’re fellow citizens will see it and you’ll be thrown into jail. You’re a nut who needs to locked up. It’s a communist dictator’s dream.

The only solution to this problem in my view is for everyone to get a gun and a blog and start writing. They can’t get us all, and when they go after one of us, they go after all of us. The IRS may have destroyed all of those emails and hard drives, and the DOJ won’t press any charges against the Lois Lerner types,  but then the confidence in government will never be the same as long as the average citizen is an enemy of the state just for exercising his freedom of speech. Eventually the American Spring will happen and the end of progressive government will come to an end. The faster, the better. Our founders gave us a great, accountable, limited form of government. Progressives continue to try to take that away. They say the Constitution is too limiting, it’s a list of negative rights, whatever that means. We’ve got to send a message to our government that we reject being spied on and monitored, or free speech rights being curtailed and if they keep it up, we the people are going to throw them out of office and into jail.

In Great Britain, news organizations like News of the World, owned by billionaire media tycoon Rupert Murdoch went down in flames when it was discovered that reporters were listening illegally to phone conversations in order to get the scoop on dirt in the lives of celebrities so they could print their stories first in their latest editions. You can find information about that scandal here. People went to jail for that and News of the World was forced to shutter their doors. If’ it’s illegal for journalists to threaten the privacy of citizens, then why is OK for the government to do it. It’s not, and western governments need to know it’s not OK.

Who do they think they are anyway?

Now comes the conspiracy theories! Imagine if the News of the World scandal was a made up scenario by the government to punish conservative media. It cost Murdoch and friends serious loss of reputation, money and people went to jail over it. How do you prove your government sabotaged your media organization? What if Sen. Weiner’s Twitter account was actually hacked in order to shut him up for who knows what reason? See, there is a slippery slope developing here.

By the way, if you suspect you will eventually be caught doing something illegal on the Internet, maybe you’re running an illegal scam, or you’re in charge of an online gambling ring, or the aforementioned child porn racket, just hire a conservative blogger to create a cover story for you. And save copies of everything. You may have a plausible alibi when you’re case comes to trial!

When the government and thieves alike have the power to hack into your accounts through the Internet or listen to your phone calls, no one is safe from people with nefarious intent.  If someone doesn’t like you, and has these tools at their disposal, they can destroy you, your reputation, your life.

I suspect the private sector will be coming with a solution for this. Phones will have anti-listening or jamming software on them so that no one can listen in, Internet capable computers will have anti-spoofing software included, and there will be online reputation protection services cropping up dedicated to defending you in case you’re computer is hacked.

The bottom line is there is a lot of awful things happening on the Internet. Lots of great things too. The fact is that in a free society, information needs to be freely transmitted, the good with the bad. That is the marketplace of free ideas. When that capability is shuttered, bad things happen. It is better to tolerate the bad, then let the good be silenced.

In a free society, when the truth is given an equal footing, the truth always wins. That is the concept of the Free Marketplace of Ideas.

 Crossposted from the American Millennium Online

 

British Court rules on search of Miranda property

Romana Klee (CC)

Romana Klee (CC)

Romana Klee (CC)


David Miranda, the Brazilian man who had been working with The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, obtained a partial victory in British court. His property that had been seized by authorities cannot be searched, unless it is for the purpose of “national security.”

BBC News reports:

The High Court ruled the authorities could examine the seized material for the defence of national security and also to investigate whether Mr Miranda, 28, is a person who is or has been concerned with the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.

Mr Miranda’s lawyers said he had had nine items, including his laptop, mobile phone, memory cards and DVDs, taken during the detention on Sunday.

They sought the injunction to prevent access to the data, arguing his detention was unlawful and threatened “journalistic sources whose confidential information is contained in the material seized”.

Speaking after the case, Gwendolen Morgan, from law firm Bindmans, said the injunction was a “partial victory”.

She said the government now has seven days to “prove there is a genuine threat to national security”.

Ms Morgan added she knew “very little” about the criminal investigation police revealed they were undertaking.

“We don’t know of any basis for that,” she added.

Miranda had been stopped presumably because of his association with Greenwald, and the Edward Snowden affair. It can be presumed that the British authorities had been hoping to find more Snowden documents before they were released to the public. In the wake of Miranda’s detainment, Guardian editors revealed that the British government had destroyed their hard drives. Given the nature of the information, and Snowden’s claims that the information will be released no matter what happens to him, it is unlikely that destroying hard drives or seizing property of journalists will put an end to the Snowden information releases. As for the Miranda situation, while his counsel is unaware of any reason the British government would have to prove that the is a danger to national security, time will tell what sort of case the Crown will manage to present in court.

Saturday Night Cigar Lounge with Taylor June 15th 2013

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sncl_logocdnWhen:Saturday, June 15th, 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific

Where: Saturday Night Cigar Lounge with Taylor on Blog Talk Radio

What: Saturday nights were meant for cigars and politics.

Hear Taylor and his co-host Liz Harrison talk about everything from the past week – from politics, to news, to books, and entertainment. Whatever comes to mind, and of course, sobriety is not likely.

Tonight: Big, big week this week and we talk to Jackie Bodnar from FreedomWorks about it. Is Edward Snowden a hero, traitor or both? Is the US lying about what the NSA program goes? Are the companies allegedly tied to it doing the same thing?

Listen to internet radio with CDNews Radio on BlogTalkRadio

 

 

 


Untangling the web of NSA, Snowden, and PRISM

stevendepolo (CC)

stevendepolo (CC)

stevendepolo (CC)

Arguments over the value of what Edward Snowden revealed to Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian have been out there ever since the story broke, and of course, the smearing of Snowden by official sources in government is in full swing. It is understandable that Greenwald is doing what he can to protect the integrity of his source. However, his current statements do not dispel some issues brought up by Mandy Nagy over at Legal Insurrection. If anything, the inconsistencies brought up by Nagy raise many legitimate questions that probably will need to be addressed sooner or later by Greenwald and The Guardian, presuming that there is a real desire to protect the integrity of their source, and the legitimacy of their reporting.

That is a relatively harsh way of putting another issue on the table – was The Guardian “right” to report on this in the first place? It’s a treacherous situation to report on intelligence procedures in the best of circumstances, and this case is particularly difficult to wade through, if for no other reason, because it appears that Snowden may or may not have been what he claims to have been. If Nagy is right, the big question becomes how did Snowden get the information in the first place? It is bad enough to think that someone that had been employed by the government through a contracted corporation could get this information if that person had access to it daily for years. But, it’s possible that Snowden only had real access to anything for just a few weeks, at most – taking into account training time, where it’s not unreasonable to assume he would have had limited access, regardless of his past history with the CIA. And that’s not even getting into the apparently spotted work and academic history of Snowden, that arguably should have been considered a warning sign that maybe he really wasn’t what he appeared. Given the nature of the information that he was revealing – government secrets that, by definition, can’t be verified by secondary sources – one would think that a great deal of scrutiny should be given to what should be verifiable – the life history of the source. Since it appears that Snowden’s history looks at least a little like a poorly pieced together “cover identity” from a spy novel, there should have been at least a little wariness about what the man had to say. One serious question should have been, has the CIA really taken to hiring people that had to get a GED because they couldn’t complete high school, and apparently couldn’t manage to complete a single degree in one school?

And then there is the PRISM program itself. While Palantir has a program of that name, they’ve categorically denied involvement in the NSA program of that name. Given the documentation of Palantir program, their claims appear to be true. However, that does not mean that Palantir doesn’t have hands in government intelligence gathering at all. The company specializes in data mining, management, and interpretation software, and openly states that it has clientele in government, law enforcement, the healthcare and pharmacy industries. While they tout their work against human trafficking in conjunction with Google, that doesn’t mean that their other endeavors are not worth scrutinizing. Just because they apparently are not involved in the development of NSA’s PRISM program does not mean that they are not involved in governmental data mining at all.

Snowden’s leaks to The Guardian have raised more questions than answers. The information that he has revealed still could eventually be proven to be of little value, but the fact that he had managed to hold any position in the government, or at a company that has been contracted to do security work is disturbing. It has been taken for granted that there has been some level of spying on U.S. citizens by the government since at the very least, 9/11. How far the government has gone, and continues to go, hasn’t been made any more clear by Snowden’s information. He’s merely pointed out that it probably is far more extensive than anyone had suspected previously. As for what citizens and journalists alike should be focusing on at this point is the simple fact that the government is spying on U.S. citizens. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the breadth of information on citizens that will be available to the government will increase radically. We should be more concerned with what the government intends to do with information it gathers, either through its intelligence infrastructure, or through purely domestic agencies like the IRS. The unfortunate fact at this point is that the conspiracy theorists are at least partially right. Government has grown to the point where no citizen should assume any level of privacy in anything that they do. They should assume that the government will not restrict itself to using that information for innocuous reasons – the claims that information could be used to intimidate citizens through threats of prosecution should be considered accurate, because there is nothing in place to prevent the government from acting in that way. Politics aside, this should be a wake-up call to the public. Unfortunately, until there are verified cases of the government using information that it has gathered through the use of PRISM or any other data mining programs to prosecute citizens as a tool of intimidation, it’s more likely that apathy will continue to keep the masses silent.