Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hepting vs AT&T

Hepting v. AT&T is a United States class action lawsuit filed in January 2006 by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) against the telecommunications company AT&T over the installation of NarusInsight, a supercomputer system used by the NSA to record and monitor internet traffic, in AT&T's San Francisco Internet backbone.

In 2002-2003, AT&T permitted and assisted the NSA to install a NarusInsight system in its San Francisco switching center, which was capable of monitoring billions of bits of Internet traffic a second, including the playback of telephone calls routed on the Internet, and thus in effect spying upon the entirety of the communication of many or all American citizens and businesses who use the Internet.

A former AT&T engineer, Mark Klein, attested that a supercomputer built by Narus was installed for the purpose, and that similar systems were also installed in at least Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego.

Mark Klein:

Despite what we are hearing, and considering the public track record of this administration, I simply do not believe their claims that the NSA's spying program is really limited to foreign communications or is otherwise consistent with the NSA's charter or with FISA [...] And unlike the controversy over targeted wiretaps of individuals' phone calls, this potential spying appears to be applied wholesale to all sorts of Internet communications of countless citizens.

The EFF alleges in the suit that AT&T also allowed the NSA to data-mine hundreds of terabytes of client records which included detailed transaction records such as domestic numbers dialed since 2001, and all Internet addresses visited, as well as other content. The EFF's attorney Kevin Bankston states:

Our goal is to go after the people who are making the government's illegal surveillance possible [...] They could not do what they are doing without the help of companies like AT&T. We want to make it clear to AT&T that it is not in their legal or economic interests to violate the law whenever the president asks them to.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Facebook starts monitoring chats

Facebook uses the technology to monitor chats for certain phrases and words which it believes may indicate something is wrong with the exchange.

Depending on the language, suspicious exchanges will be reported to police, revealed Facebook's chief security officer, Joe Sullivan, to Reuters.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Petition the US Government to Force the TSA to Follow the Law

From Bruce Schneier:

In July 2011, a federal appeals court ruled that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) had to conduct a notice-and-comment rulemaking on its policy of using "Advanced Imaging Technology" for primary screening at airports. TSA was supposed to publish the policy in the Federal Register, take comments from the public, and justify its policy based on public input. The court told TSA to do all this "promptly." A year later, TSA has not even started that public process. Defying the court, the TSA has not satisfied public concerns about privacy, about costs and delays, security weaknesses, and the potential health effects of these machines. If the government is going to "body-scan" Americans at U.S. airports, President Obama should force the TSA to begin the public process the court ordered.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Collecting antiques for when an EMP strikes.

A few things you may want to collect and store in case an EMP hits your area and fries all modern electronics:

Old fashioned vacuum tube equipment. You can find vacuum tube radios at yard sales, swap meets and on eBay. Take them to a musical instrument amplifier repair shop to get them fixed (A lot of musicians still prefer tube amps).

Old fashioned crystal radios. They don't need batteries! You could put the components in a box, unassembled, then put them together after the EMP.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Anti-WiFi wallpaper that lets cellular and radio through

French researchers have developed a special wallpaper that can block WiFi signals, preventing them from being broadcast beyond the confines of an office or apartment. Unlike other signal-blocking technologies, this anti-WiFi wallpaper only blocks a select set of frequencies used by wireless LANs, and allows cellular phones and other radio waves through. the wallpaper should be available for sale in 2013.

Friday, July 6, 2012

UK snooping law plans may come into contradiction with EC

The plans of the UK government of increasing the police online surveillance powers under the draft Communications Data Bill (CDB), also known as the Snoopers' Chart, might come into contradiction with the European Commission's position on citizens' rights.

If approved, the Communications Data Bill will place innocent citizens under continuous surveillance having all their communications and online activity monitored, all of the time. The government would store information about who's messaging whom, who's a friend to whom on the Internet or what people are searching for on search engines. Police and HM Revenue and Customs officers would have the power to access this information without a judicial warrant.

According to the information appeared in mass-media, the Home Office had a meeting with the largest electronic communications providers in UK that included discussions on the hardware which companies will have to use to monitor traffic flowing through their systems.

Things get more complicated with the design of the system to identify and store traffic data from the webmail services. Thus, the ISPs might have "to route the data via a government-approved 'black box' which will decrypt the message, separate the content from the 'header data', and pass the latter back to the ISP for storage."

It might be a good time to start using 3rd party smtp services and tools like PGP or GPG.