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NSA: Inside the FIVE-EYED VAMPIRE SQUID of the INTERNET

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Anonymous Coward

May you live

in interesting times!

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Re: May you live

May your children have five eyes, but refuse to look you in yours.

May your friends be blessed with communication skills and yet only tell you lies.

May you assume the best of those you entrust with your safety, but only ever be betrayed.

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Pint

Simple Counter-Measure

Use the Internet only for topics that you're not really interested in.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Simple Counter-Measure

Better yet, design bots to generate yottabytes of garbage for topics you're not really interested in. Sure, it'd be the end of a useful Internet, but f*** 'em, they started the ball rolling.

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kbb

Re: Simple Counter-Measure

aka adverts

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Re: Simple Counter-Measure

aka adverts

wait, wut? ABP is NSA-ware?

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Re: Simple Counter-Measure

We already have that. It's called Facebook. And it is very easy to use too.

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Re: Simple Counter-Measure

Another simple measure - don't speak English

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Re: Simple Counter-Measure

properly implemented PGP/GPG.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Simple Counter-Measure

YES, traffic dilution is one of the only available legal anti-5-eyes strategy (not that I'm completely anti 5-eyes, I'd just like to join-in the privacy/security balance debate, whilst that is still allowed)

So - DO: widely share implausible Main Stream Media stories about ex-MI6 5-eye activist having affair with ex-TV-glamour-lady such as [DailyMail] you couldn't make this up!

and DONT encrypt using FAIL'ed algo's safecurves.cr.yp.to

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Re: Simple Counter-Measure

"design bots to generate yottabytes of garbage for topics you're not really interested in"

So that explains all the cats, then!

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Holmes

The internet is made of steganographic cats.

need I say more?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Simple Counter-Measure

Better yet, design bots to generate yottabytes of garbage for topics you're not really interested in. Sure, it'd be the end of a useful Internet, but f*** 'em, they started the ball rolling.

Erm, wasn't that somewhere around 1997?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Simple Counter-Measure

A widespread smattering of TOR can't hurt either. Especially if used for those things you're not really interested in or trying to keep secret... like FB

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Re: Simple Counter-Measure

"Another simple measure - don't speak English" - or any of the languages spoken by the third party countries for that matter......

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El Reg's gloves come off

A marked change in the tone of your coverage over the last few days.

Well done, I say.

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Re: El Reg's gloves come off

I noticed that. The writers seem more pissed-off than usual too. Possibly something has happened.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: El Reg's gloves come off

Interesting.

When was the last time any* external entity accessed your internal data Reg?

*NB: I make no mention of, and this question has nothing to do with, any specific agency or class of agency, which don't exist anyway.

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Re: El Reg's gloves come off

@moiety: The writers seem more pissed-off than usual too

Seems to be one guest writer for whom it is business as usual, actually:

http://www.duncancampbell.org/content/biography

Or is he on staff now?

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Devil

Disgusted!!

Now I know why having changed my mobile phone supplier to one of the 'code names' it takes ages to get replies from my wife to texts.

Naughty replies can take an hour or so and MMS can take 5 or 6 hours. I can only think that the photos are being passed round the offices of GCHQ and NSA for their pervy pleasure.

What on earth can we all do?

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Re: Disgusted!!

"What on earth can we all do?"

Send naughty photos of other guy's wives.

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Anonymous Coward

So I heard on a local show, that what sweden has to offer the US, is goodybags with information about Russia. So sweden is spying on russia, collecting data, which it then swaps for X from the US.

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Anonymous Coward

"what sweden has to offer the US"

Which is the central plot point of the Larsson books - in which (spoiler alert) the Swedish security agency has one Russian defector whose information they can trade with the US, and proceed to commit a series of murders and illegal imprisonments in order to protect their source. I thought when I read it that it was rather far-fetched, but since then it's dawned on me that our "security services" are indeed mainly concerned with their own jobs and power, and any real involvement in actual national security is presumably just enough to persuade the politicians that they are getting value for money.

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Anonymous Coward

Not just Russia.

Sizable chunks of European data are deliberately routed through Sweden giving plausible deniability to the the telcos in the originating countries.

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Re: "what sweden has to offer the US"

"the Swedish security agency has one Russian defector whose information they can trade with the US"

Every time I see the word "defector" I find myself substituting "defecator". It seems to fit with the sh*tload of garbage certain Iraqis fed everybody prior to the last imperial cockup in Iraq, of just a decade or so ago.

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Anonymous Coward

If GCHQ particularly prizes the data from Israel, since we have been told that the NSA hands the whole lot, lock, stock and barrel to Israel, does this mean GCHQ is responsible for Israel's internal surveillance as well as spying on everyone else in the world who Israel regards as a threat or Israel would like to blackmail?

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Anonymous Coward

Yup

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Black Helicopters

Lets not forget who is to blame

It is easy to characterize the NSA and GCHQ as some sort or Orwellian super power out of control targeting at removing our freedoms. But actually they are more an expression of our fears and anxieties. The reason these programs were setup in the 1st place was because we the people demanded it after events like 9/11 and 7/7 when it became clear that organisations like al-qaeda were using things like the internet to co-ordinate their followers. After 9/11 questions were asked why the CIA, NSA FBI etc did not see it coming and the answer was because they did not have the capabilities to monitor mass communication. So they built it.

Now you could argue that they went way over there brief, but that is fault with the oversight not the organisations themselves. Then again with the fear and paranoia following those events it would be a brave politician who would put their career on the line who would limit powers which might stop the next 9/11. We also would be clamoring to now why our security services had let us down if another event like that happened.

In a naive world populated by Edward Snowdens, the transgressions look inexcusable, but in the real world these organisations daily stop us getting killed or injured by the forces out there. The question therefore is not whether these powers should exist, but how they are overseen, the range of their use, and when they should be used.

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Silver badge

Re: Lets not forget who is to blame

"...the transgressions look inexcusable..."

That's probably because they are.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lets not forget who is to blame

Menwith Hill was being used to monitor trans-Atlantic traffic years before 9/11

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lets not forget who is to blame

The question therefore is not whether these powers should exist, but how they are overseen, the range of their use, and when they should be used.

No, the question is the very one you've dismissed. The answer is no, because we spent decades facing off against a regime which treated it's citizens in this way. Now our intelligence agencies are treating us the same way as that regime treated its citizens. They've created a "Stasi on Steriods" system of mass monitoring, and it needs to be stopped.

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Re: Lets not forget who is to blame

"in the real world these organisations daily stop us getting killed or injured by the forces out there."

And they stop us all getting killed by tigers. Have you seen any tigers roaming the streets of London? See? It works! They are protecting us!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lets not forget who is to blame

[citation needed]

I don't remember that vote or referendum?

Actually I don't really mind the intelligence services doing their James Bond bit. Spying on people, tapping phones, hanging from the roof on ropes. That kind of stuff. It's almost 'fair'.

But the problem is that it's now so 'cheap/easy' for them to hoover up everything, store it, and then mine it later. For whatever today's Daily Mail threat is. Thats the sinister thing.

We all know the pitfalls of posting drunken silliness or teenage angst to Facebook and Twitter. It can harm your future job prospects, and get you introuble with the law when they have a sarcasm failure.

But imagine when the current Facebook generation get to be the ones heading for politics and power?

The ones who made some silly mistake today when they're 15 won't be able to hide from it when they start running a political campaign. Someone somewhere who doesn't agree with their policies can find a contact in one of the agencies to do a little digging into history 10years ago. Some embarrassing pics appear, some comments to the right places, and a political opponent steps aside.

That kind of historic proof has never been so easily available or retrievable before. Now apparently they can do a 'google' of everything they capture and see what looks interesting.

Politics and regimes change, but the data will last and last. You may have 'done nothing wrong, so nothing to fear' today... but what about in 20 years time when they decide what used to be acceptable suddenly isn't?

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Joke

Re: Lets not forget who is to blame

You may have 'done nothing wrong, so nothing to fear' today... but what about in 20 years time when they decide what used to be acceptable suddenly isn't?

YA Stuart Hall AICMFP

(too soon?)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lets not forget who is to blame

@hammarbtyp

Never thought I'd need a one word answer on the reg commentard list, but yours is below.

Bollocks.

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Re: Lets not forget who is to blame

Thank you for your erudite response and breakdown of my arguments.

You have added much value to the debate

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Re: Lets not forget who is to blame

Oh dear, how we forget the past.

Five-Eyes - started in 1940's, not surprisingly trying to figure out what the Germany/Japen where planning. The use "Colossus" machines was a major break-through. Then along came the Cold War. The "Colossus" machine where still being used, now for trying to crack Russian communications. The Echelon system was developed for two reasons, to spy on Russia, and to spy on each of the other Five Eyes (UK spy on US, US spy on UK then swap results), then share the results.

The problem with 9/11 was not that all the TLA's in the US could not monitor comminication, but that they did not SHARE with each other.

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Re: Lets not forget who is to blame

quote: "It is easy to characterize the NSA and GCHQ as some sort or Orwellian super power out of control targeting at removing our freedoms. But actually they are more an expression of our fears and anxieties. The reason these programs were setup in the 1st place was because we the people demanded it after events like 9/11 and 7/7 when it became clear that organisations like al-qaeda were using things like the internet to co-ordinate their followers."

See the part in the original article regarding Watergate, and how this over-reaching surveillance activity was prevalent in the 1970s, 30 years prior to 9/11. This is not a recent thing by any stretch of the imagination.

quote: "In a naive world populated by Edward Snowdens, the transgressions look inexcusable, but in the real world these organisations daily stop us getting killed or injured by the forces out there."

As a citizen of a country that was a frequent target of terror attacks by various flavours of IRA over several decades leading up to 9/11, I'm going to have to disagree with you. We even had a train bombing happen after 9/11, when these agencies were supposedly already stopping us from getting killed by "the forces out there".

So, given the preposition that no surveillance will be 100% effective (much like antivirus, something is always going to manage to slip through), I think I would rather have less effective surveillance with minimal intrusion in my daily life or private affairs, instead of more effective surveillance that watches me with unblinking eyes for every second of my life. I am perfectly capable of taking responsibility for my own safety.

A 24/7 surveillance state is not a free country, and a complete inability to change this through election is not democracy. You may want to reflect on this as you look at the current behaviour of 5-eyes, and decide what sort of country it is that you actually live in ;)

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Re: Lets not forget who is to blame

"A 24/7 surveillance state is not a free country, and a complete inability to change this through election is not democracy. You may want to reflect on this as you look at the current behaviour of 5-eyes, and decide what sort of country it is that you actually live in ;)"

This needs to be engraved in stone, in letters two meters high, and placed in each Capital of the Five Eyes loonies, where it will always be visible when the Governments are in session.

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Unhappy

"Menwith Hill was being used to monitor trans-Atlantic traffic *decades* before 9/11"

FTFY

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People did not "demand" this

Politicians were (and still are) deathly afraid of getting blamed for making a wrong decision, and trying to make us safer is seen as the "safest" political choice, so they can claim they did something.

Look at the Benghazi situation, and how much worry (granted mostly partisan) there is over a handful of deaths (not to dismiss them, but it hardly compares to 9/11) Imagine what would have happened to Bush if there had been another big attack several years after 9/11, or to Obama if there had been/will be another during his administration?

They keep these programs secret because if there's a big attack, they can release some details and say "look at everything we've been doing, but even then the terrorists got around it, its not our fault!"

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Re: Lets not forget who is to blame

"It is easy to characterize the NSA and GCHQ as some sort or Orwellian super power out of control targeting at removing our freedoms."

Such as the right to anonymously support political parties, candidates, positions, etc, which are usually out-of-favour with the party in power? Unless of course you can buy the watchers off, in which case the only political and civil rights left belong to the rich.

"But actually they are more an expression of our fears and anxieties."

Fears and anxieties that have been deliberately fostered and developed over the past half-century, based as it happens on a set of fears and anxieties that have been fostered for over a millenium in Western Europe. I don't like being manipulated, sorry.

"The reason these programs were setup in the 1st place was because we the people demanded it after events like 9/11 and 7/7 when it became clear that organisations like al-qaeda were using things like the internet to co-ordinate their followers.:

Did we? I don't remember being asked, at any point. And I certainly didn't express any such wish to be surveilled a la the KGB, the Stasi, and the various forms of uselessness that permitted the likes of the French Revolution to occur.

"After 9/11 questions were asked why the CIA, NSA FBI etc did not see it coming and the answer was because they did not have the capabilities to monitor mass communication. So they built it."

When in truth they had been keeping an eye on Al Qaeda for a fair few years. They just did not have the elementary HUMINT to understand Al Qaeda. Which they still don't. The "non-intervening" intervention in Libya has spread Al Qaeda affiliates all across North Africa - someone everybody else at the time could see. Just not the doofuses in charge.

"Now you could argue that they went way over there brief, but that is fault with the oversight not the organisations themselves."

When you have an organization tasked with two completely self-contradictory tasks - the NSA - namely securing the networks, and breaking the networks, that line of reasoning shows up as just an empty excuse.

"Then again with the fear and paranoia following those events it would be a brave politician who would put their career on the line who would limit powers which might stop the next 9/11."

Why are we paranoid? Paranoia's a medical condition, in case you were unaware, and paranoid schizophrenia - where the brain disconnects from its environment and sees threats everywhere - is one of the more dangerous of the mental illnesses. If we as a group of people are paranoid enough, then we should undergo a medical examination and probably, undergo a course of medication.

"We also would be clamoring to now why our security services had let us down if another event like that happened."

We are clamouring to find out why our security services now consider everybody to be guilty. Or at least I am.

"In a naive world populated by Edward Snowdens, the transgressions look inexcusable, but in the real world these organisations daily stop us getting killed or injured by the forces out there."

Or rather, they set up policies and environments that we understand only too well, are precursors to repression.

"The question therefore is not whether these powers should exist, but how they are overseen, the range of their use, and when they should be used."

Let me tell you about the lady who rode a tiger. A very exciting ride, but she could never sleep and she could never dismount. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Evidently since we're not paying such a price, we don't have freedom, only a simulcra of it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Menwith Hill was being used to monitor trans-Atlantic traffic *decades* before 9/11"

Many thanks for the correction.

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Re: Lets not forget who is to blame

What rubbish.

Much of this collection stuff existed before 9/11/2000 let alone the more memorable one a few years later!

They just used the event to expand their scope futher, using the foolish argument that because they missed the needle passing through the huge haystack of data they collected, what they needed was to build bigger haystacks!

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Re: Lets not forget who is to blame

No it was all running before 9/11 7/7 to protect us during the cold war. They have just subbed in al-qaeda to keep the budget money flowing after the cold war died.

And we get to see how well it all works for the stated purpose when they can't catch a couple amateurs, with pots and fireworks, even when given tips from their old cold war friends...

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FAIL

Re: Tom 35 Re: Lets not forget who is to blame

".....And we get to see how well it all works....." Yeah, because there's been a repeat of 9/11 every month since, right? Oh, actually, no there hasn't. Hmm, I wonder why that would be seeing as AQ has plenty of cash, people, and has proven they are both capable and more than willing to make such attacks? Silly me, it MUST be because they just love Obambi so much, right?

/I suspect I should really add sarc tags for the sheeple.

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Black Helicopters

Hilarious

Ah sure Ireland is safe from all that... If the country had strong trade ties with the UK, some form of historical dissidence within its population or was hosting several US IT multinationals then yeah I would be concerned.

Hang on...

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"The only European countries apparently not signed up to help break the internet are Luxembourg, Switzerland, Monaco, and Ireland. And Iceland."

Well I'd imagine Ireland has nothing to offer which the NSA can't already get from either the UK or a multinational. Otherwise we'd be eagerly bent over the desk with the rest of them.

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