The govt need “back doors” to thwart terror attacks? Bullshit: they just need to do their jobs properly.

01/01/2016

Govts everywhere are talking up their need for back-doors in encryption etc by saying how the Paris killers got away with so much because of their encryption opsec skillz… but it turns out their opsec is flaky as shit and backdoors wouldn’t be nearly as useful to the cops as listening to the repeated warnings they’d got from Turkey.

Wired.com reported that “news reports of the Paris attacks have revealed that at least some of the time, the terrorists behind the attacks didn’t bother to use encryption while communicating, allowing authorities to intercept and read their messages…

“Reports in France say that investigators were able to locate some of the suspects’ hideout this week using data from a cellphone apparently abandoned by one of the attackers in a trashcan outside the Bataclan concert hall where Friday’s attack occurred, according to Le Monde. Authorities tracked the phone’s movements prior to the attack, which led them to a safehouse in a Paris suburb where they engaged in an hours-long shootout with the other suspects early Wednesday. These would-be attackers, most of whom were killed in the apartment, had been planning to pull off a second round of attacks this week in Paris’s La Defense business district, according to authorities.”

Other reports indicate that a previous ISIS terrorist plot targeting police in Belgium was disrupted in that country last January because Abdelhamid Abaaoud—suspected mastermind of both that plot and the Paris attacks—had failed to use encryption. He also carelessly left behind a cellphone in Syria, which contained unencrypted pictures and videos, including one now-infamous video showing him smiling from a truck as he dragged bodies of victims through a street.

The killers were guilty of serious OPSEC failures… sometimes they didn’t use encryption at all, sometimes they left plaintext evidence lying round where anyone could find it. But as crappy as the terrorists were, the French cops were worse: Turkish authorities have said they tried to warn French authorities twice about one of the suspects but never got a response.

But Western authorities, notably the US and the Brits, have been complaining that they need their secret back-doors to beat the killers, even suggesting that  “US companies like Apple and Google have blood on their hands for refusing to give intelligence and law enforcement agencies backdoors to unlock customer phones and decrypt protected communications”.

My question for the authorities is this: if encryption products have back doors built into them for law enforcement to use, isn’t it likely that crooks will also be able to use these back doors to steal our personal info, IDs, banking details, our entire fucking lives?  The govt are constantly losing top secret laptops on trains and in taxis, and computer intruders regularly bust into official data centres and make off with piles of sensitive data.  Do the authorities think their new back doors will somehow be magically better than all the fucked up attempts at secrecy and security they’ve tried before?

US-paramilitaries

Also, if the authorities get their way, they will be able to find out anything they want to about us.  Maybe (ha ha) that’s not a big problem right now.  But who knows what changes in governments will happen?  Far-right parties are getting more popular all the time.  And look at US presidential hopeful cock Trump: one press of a button and he’ll know exactly where to go to round up the Muslims he hates and send them to be tortured and killed by his friend Assad in Syria.

Don’t listen to the authorities when they say why they “need” the ability to access every bit of data on us.  They don’t need it.  They want it.  Just as they’ve always wanted new ways to eliminate those they don’t like.

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I don’t just take photos you know…

02/01/2015

I don't just take photos you know….


New powers to seize terror “suspects” passports… yet another thought crime…

29/08/2014

On the Guardian website today (29 August 2014) is a top-of-the-page headline: “New powers to seize terror suspects’ passports”. Now maybe that seems fine to you – can’t have terrorists suicide-bombing their way around the world on British passports, can we? But that is not the intent of prime minister Cameron’s plan, and by wording their headline as they have, the Guardian (and, I expect, other newspapers) are deliberately misrepresenting what the government are up to.

christian-burka

The current law already allows for the confiscation of terror suspects’ passports – “terror suspects” meaning people who are suspected of engaging in terrorism. This new law is rather an extension of the old, much-criticized “control orders”, which allowed the authorities to keep people under virtual house arrest because the police think the individual might engage in terrorism. The law allowed for control orders to be imposed on individuals without telling the “suspect” what evidence existed. If you’re put under a control order as a result of evidence that you and your legal representatives aren’t allowed to see, how are you supposed to effectively defend himself? What if the evidence is faulty? How can you appeal, when you don’t know what lies the authorities are using to impose the control order?

And now the thought crime is going one step further. “Oh look, there’s a British Muslim trying to leave the country. He’s got a return ticket to Paris on the Eurostar, but maybe he isn’t really planning to return. Maybe he’s going to travel on to Syria or Iraq and behead people. After all, that’s what Muslims do, isn’t it? Look on Youtube, you’ll see a video of an American journalist being beheaded by a British Muslim. Bloody British Muslims, all the bloody same. Better take away is passport.”

Secret evidence, secret courts, all makes me think “secret police”, and “police state”. Maybe you don’t care because you’re not a Muslim? Well, who do you expect to come rescue you when the authorities decide that people like you might be a threat? Pull your head out of your butt; and don’t give me any of that “Can’t happen here” crap, because it is happening here, now.

Incidentally, the UK terror threat was raised from substantial to severe for the first time since 2010. This means that an attack is deemed to be “highly likely” – although not necessarily imminent. Who decided that? Them. And you must never question what they say or do…

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Prison for taking the piss out of the cops? So how come they’re allowed to take the piss out of us?

11/10/2012

Interesting case in Manchester. At Minshull Street crown court, Barry Thew was imprisoned for four months for wearing a t-shirt daubed with jokes about the recent deaths of PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes. The court heard that on 18 September, less than three-and-a-half hours after the officers were killed, he was seen in Radcliffe town centre wearing a white T-shirt with the handwritten message on the front and back. He was arrested and taken into custody after complaints from outraged members of the public.

The words Thew had added said “One less pig. Perfect justice” and “Killacop4fun.com. Ha haaa”.

Okay, so Thew broke the law: members of the public were apparently offended by the t-shirt, so he was guilty of a section 4a public order offence – displaying writing or other visible representation with intention of causing harassment, alarm or distress. He pleaded guilty, there’s no question over that.

But what is vile in this case is the fact that Thew was sent to prison for four months (2 four month sentences to be served concurrently). It’s a fact that a lot of people don’t like the police. A lot of people would have been amused by the t-shirt – I certainly am – and if the courts are to jail someone just because of a tastless joke, the prisons would be overflowing with comedians like Roy “Chubby” Brown.

It’s time for the establishment to accept that a lot of people don’t like them. And why not? The ruling classes and their lackeys will need to look to each oher for the answer to that one.

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You have the right to free speech… as long as you’re not dumb enough to actually try it

10/04/2012

Free speech on the internet, right?  Bzzz, wrong answer.  And I’m not just talking about the Great Red Wall of China or Burma or some other overtly evil dictatorship here.  I’m talking about Merrie Olde England here.  A member state of the European Union and the home of “the Mother of all Parliaments”.  I’m talking about Liam Stacey, the guy sent to jail for tweeting nasty stuff about Fabrice Muamba.

Now, I could tell you about the case and what I think about it, but I’m not going to bother.  Because I think the Guardian “Comment is Free” blogger Victoria Coren has already said it, and I’d largely be paraphrasing her.  So Im gonna just advise you to go read her post about it.  Here’s the link.  Cheers Victoria.

Oh, and cheers to The Clash for this post’s title (lyrics to their song “Know Your Rights”).  RIP Joe Strummer.  😦

 

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How to search the internet 4: Understanding search engine results

12/05/2010

This is the fourth part of my guide on how to search the internet. Part 1 is here, part 2 is here, and part 3 is here. Part 5, about using “advanced operators” is here.

So you’ve used Google or some other web search engine, following the tips I’ve given you in this little series, and you’ve been confronted with “results” that don’t actually seem to be any help whatsoever. And it’s true, often Google comes across as an incomprehensible joke designed to make you feel bad. But don’t fret: Google (and its kind) really don’t want you to run screaming; they want you to use the results to find what it is you’re looking for. Unfortunately, this may involve having to learn a thing or two about how Google works. It may be scary-looking at first glance, but really Google want you to find their results pages easily to comprehend. They want you to return to Google.com every time you want help in finding what you want. It can be a rather intimidating interface the first time you look at a results page: but it is all pretty simple really. You just need to know how to understanding the reams of info Google throws at you. Hopefully, this 4th part of my guide will make it all seem far easier.

First thing first: very often Google will offer you a list of sponsored results that may give you what you’re looking for; but if you click on a sponsored link you will be putting money in Mr Google’s pocket and chances are that link will be useless. Forget the sponsored links: go for the meat and potatoes in the list of real links.

Look at the search results; very often you will find other kinds of info alongside those results. Stuff like:

Suggested spelling corrections: Google may think you typed in your query incorrectly. If you’re no good at spelling, this can be a life-saver. But if you know damn well you typed your query correctly, forget this option;

Dictionary definitions: Are you actually searching for the word/s you mean to search for? Maybe you are, maybe you’re not. Think about it. Spelling can be a right tricky operation;

Cached pages: Google carries a huge number of pages that are not currently up to date. Maybe one of those cached pages may contain the info you need. Worth checking if regular searches are turning up sweet F-all;

Similar pages: Often Google won’t find a page that contains the precise info you want, but it has algorithms to turn up similar results. Have a look at them, you’ve nothing to lose really…;

News headlines: A webpage dealing with your query might be hard to find, but it’s often easier for Google to find news stories on related material. And these news stories may well include links to more relevant info. This can save you a bunch of time searching for that little nugget of info that will give you what you want. Remember: news stories are updated frequently, whereas a static page may never be more relevant. Use those options;

Product search: You want to know something about a particular project name. So search for that project name, add a bit of info on what the product can/is meant to do, and see what turns up. This approach works a lot more than you might think;

Translation: So what you want isn’t available in your mother tongue. But it may well be out there for speakers of other languages. Just think: if you are looking for info on a product released by a Portugese company, what makes you think that info will be in English? Search Portugese sites, using Google’s Translation feature or the other translators offered by search services. These translators are often pretty crap; but at least it’ll give you a good idea of what’s what;

Do book searches: Useful info may not yet be available in articles, but books often contain useful stuff. So it can often be a good idea to do a book search;

Cached pages: When a web page is undergoing a lot of changes, clicking on a Google link to a page might take you to the latest version of that page, which may be missing information that was presented some time before. Sometimes, these changes can happen frequently, so a Google link will not take you to the info that the search results first suggested.

Fortunately, Google will often cache an earlier version of the page. So, let’s say a particular page yesterday contained the info you want; but you go to today’s version of the page no longer holds that info. A problem? Not necessarily. Next to the Google link to the updated page will be a link to a [i]cached[/i] version of the page; basically, a version of the page that Google downloaded and cached before the important info was removed. So you click to navigate to the cached page, and you will find the info as it was before it got removed. Google’s system of caching certain pages helps ensure that the history of the web is respected to a certain extent.

If you want to download a version of a page that existed longer ago (several weeks, or months, maybe even years) you can go to [b]The Wayback Machine[/b] at archive.org. This is a project to archive internet sites the way they were in the past, so the current generation’s “now now now” attitude doesn’t drive the history of internet sites into oblivion. [b]The Wayback Machine[/b] doesn’t promise to archive the internet of the past forever; but it is a very useful project that has a multitude of potential uses. Archive.org, like most such projects, is run by volunteers and is always in need of financial support, as well as more practical support such as providing servers. I’d advise anyone who finds such projects very useful to contribute even just a few dollars.

There’s a lot of info on how to understand Google results, and how to configure the way Google works to it gives you the info you want and hopefully protects your privacy, here: http://www.googleguide.com/category/understanding-results/http://www.googleguide.com/category/understanding-results/. I really advise anyone who’s seriously into using Google as best they can to check out this info. Google really is one of the best resources available online… and it’s free! Let’s make the most of it while we can! Before the goddamn Man tries to take it away from us!

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Wikileaks front page is back up :) but the rest of the site is still down :(

09/02/2010

I was telling you all just the other day that wikileaks.org was offline. Well, the site has been “down” for a while – point your browser at http://wikileaks.org and you’ll see an announcement that they’ve had to take their servers offline due to lack of funds – but a few days ago I went to have a look if they were back, and even the announcement was down! Wikileaks’ front page was just blank! OMG, I thought, have they gone away for ever? Have the evil powers that be actually got rid of them? I was very concerned – Wikileaks provide an excellent service to the world, enabling whistle-blowers and other friends of truth to upload documents that enemies of truth would rather stayed hidden. In the short time since its foundation, Wikileaks has become an indispensible online resource. Its complete disappearance really shook me up!

But it turns out there was no need to worry. At least, no need to worry as much as I did. Because Wikileaks’ front page is back up! Surf there and you’ll find a brief explanation of their current financial difficulties and info on how you can donate cash or technical resources to the cause. Because an operation like theirs doesn’t come for free – there are multiple servers to keep online, and administration and other staff required to verify the authenticity of the documents they wish to leak and to keep the computers purring. To do this takes cash. And since Wikileaks provides its service free of charge, it needs donations.

Come on, peeps, the world will be a poorer place if Wikileaks can’t keep operating. It provides a truly important service. The citizens of Australia and Germany should realise that more than anyone else. Because those two countries are ruled by governments who use filters to censor what their populations can view on the web. Wikileaks got hold of the lists of sites these filters block, and leaked them. And Australia and Germany promptly blocked wikileaks.org! These governments claim the filters are there purely to block child pornography and similar material; but their anti-Wikileaks action demonstrates that the so-called “democracies” are also censoring sites on a political basis.

This is something that all lovers of freedom should despise! If so-called “liberal democracies” like Australia and Germany can censor internet sites on a political basis, so can any other country. China is not the only nation with a “great firewall”. We all need to keep an eye on Wikileaks to find out what our authorities are up to… and you can be damned sure that our governments want to stop us from finding out what they’re up to! If Wikileaks is to successfully combat its powerful enemies, it needs resources. Money. And we need to donate that money, unless we want to wake up tomorrow to find that someone has decided what we can and can’t be trusted to know!

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Just in case you’re having trouble accessing wikileaks.org for any reason, I’ve reproduced below details of some of the ways you can donate to Wikileaks. Note that this info is about just *some* of the ways you can donate financially, technically and legally. There’s more info on the Wikileaks front page, for instance how to donate via PayPal. I couldn’t reproduce Javascript forms etc. I’ve done my best to ensure all the info below is accuarate; but please note I can’t be held responsible for any errors here. Go check wikileaks.org if at all possible.

Donate via Cash / Cheque
You can support us by posting cash, cheques or international money grams to one of the following addresses:
All countries
WikiLeaks ICT
BOX 4080, University of Melbourne
Victoria 3052, Australia

USD, EUR, AUD preferred. International cheques are best over $800 to avoid fees. If sending cash, please place it in a non-transparent envelope or a CD case for maximum security.
Kenya
WikiLeaks ICT
PO Box 8098-00200
Nairobi
Kenya

Other addresses are available on request from wl-supporters@sunshinepress.org

Donate via Bank Transfer

To contribute via direct wire transfer, please make your donation to one of the following organizations that can accept support on our behalf. Tax deductibility is possible where indicated.
Europe

Use our account at the tax-deductible Wau Holland foundation:

Wau Holland Stiftung, Postfach 640236, 10048 Berlin, Germany
Commerzbank Kassel, BLZ: 52040021, KTO: 277281204
(international: IBAN: DE46520400210277281204, BIC: COBADEFF520)
(inquiries: wl-supporters@sunshinepress.org)
United States
Banking details available on request. Email wl-supporters@sunshinepress.org with the name of your state to be guided through this simple process.
Australia & New Zealand

Use our tax-exempt infrastructure foundation:

WikiLeaks ICT, Australia

Full bank details available on request. Email wl-supporters@sunshinepress.org to be guided through this simple process.
All other countries

Use our account at the non-profit Wau Holland foundation in Europe:

Wau Holland Stiftung, Postfach 640236, 10048 Berlin, Germany
Commerzbank Kassel, BLZ: 52040021, KTO: 277281204
(international: IBAN: DE46520400210277281204, BIC: COBADEFF520)
(inquiries: wl-supporters@sunshinepress.org)

Other bank accounts are available on request from wl-supporters@sunshinepress.org

Support us technically

Wikileaks is currently overloaded by readers. This is a regular difficulty that can only be resolved by deploying additional resources. If you support our mission, you can help us by integrating new hardware into our project infrastructure or developing software for the project. Become patron of a WikiLeaks server or other parts of our technology, adding more pillars to the stability and balance of the WikiLeaks platform. Servers come trouble-free and legally fortified, software is uniquely challenging.

If you can provide rackspace, power and an uplink, or a dedicated server or storage space, for at least 12 months, or software development work for WikiLeaks, please write to wl-supporters@sunshinepress.org

Support us legally

Individuals or organizations wishing to donate lawyer time write to wl-legal@sunshinepress.org. We provide unique legal challenges in an ongoing fight for global justice and freedom of speech. If you support our mission, join our legal team to help defend those values.

WikiLeaks would like to thank the following 18 steadfast supporters (unordered):

* Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press (RCFP)
* The American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE)
* The Associated Press – world wide news agency, based in New York
* Citizen Media Law Project – Harvard university
* The E.W Scripps Company – newspapers, TV, cable TV etc.
* Gannett Co. Inc – the largest publisher of newspapers in the USA, including USA Today
* The Hearst Corporation – media conglomerate which publishes the San Francisco Chronicle
* The Los Angeles Times
* National Newspaper Association (NNA)
* Newspaper Association of America (NAA)
* The Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA)
* The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ)
* Public Citizen – founded by Ralph Nader together with the California First Amendment Coalition (CFAC)
* The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
* The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
* The Project on Government Oversight (POGO)
* Jordan McCorkle, the University of Texas
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