Most media report about the NSA / GCHQ spying programs. And that is good.
Some media also report about “what you can do”. The solution they offer or propagate usually is encryption. And that is not so good.
To put it into one sentence: Encryption makes the illegal and hurtful spying by NSA / GCHQ more difficult and more expensive. But it does not end it.
Let’s have a brief look at just some of the many points, where a spy can attack.
Starting with your computer or smartphone, first there is the hardware. We know from the Snowden leaks, that the NSA is actively altering hardware – sometimes intercepting shipment of such – and installing spying tools. Another piece of hardware is your router and/or modem. The last couple of weeks have been filled with news about backdoors or security holes in routers from pretty much every manufacturer.
Then there is your software. Starting with the BIOS or firmware. I am willing to bet, 99% of people have never ever looked at that, much less know what it actually does. For example, one common feature there is “wake on lan“. That means your computer can be switched on from another computer on the same network. This is convenient for system administrators who want to maintain a lot of machines remotely. It is also convenient for less friendly and caring people.
On top of the BIOS sits your operating system (OS). Whether it is from Microsoft or Apple, they both “call home”. Meaning, without your knowledge and beyond your usual control the OS connects with Microsoft or Apple. And you have no idea, what they do with it. In plain words, Microsoft and Apple treat your (!) computer as if it was their computer. And what they do with it is none of your business, at least in their mind.
During a recent ask me anything session on Reddit.com, Bill Gates was asked “What do you think about the NSA spying?”. His answer: “We do not want a terrorist attack with nuclear or chemical weapons.” Which translates into “Leave me the fuck alone, I am feeding you the same bullshit the politicians do, and by the way I profit handsomely from it.”
Next in line, other software on your computer. If it is proprietary software, you have no idea what it does on your computer. A common feature for further improvements of software is, having it send reports back to the creator. As understandable as that is, you have no idea what the software sends. Or how those reports are being used. or how the NSA / GCHQ might be using this communication channel to spy on us. And even if your OS and software are open source, meaning the underlying source code is in the open, you and I rely on the fact, that it has been reviewed properly by the right, knowledgeable, and enough people. Sadly, the NSA is paying big bucks to knowledgeable people to reveal security holes in software rather to them, than to the creators of that software. Guess who wins in that game of whack-a-mole?
And then comes all the hardware and software that is beyond your control. Your internet service provider, their partners and out-sorced service companies, the online services you use, in essence, the whole network, plus whatever those people use, whom you are communicating with.
The chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, announced this week “All Google systems are now secure”. One could call that a blatant lie. He should at least have added: “To the best of my knowledge” and “As secure as the NSA allows us to make it”.
So, what is the solution?
Cats have been glorified long before the internet, just check ancient Egypt. But the internet certainly loves and adores cats.
Now here is a gif – found on imgur.com – to slightly correct the online image of cats:
Someone once told me about the difference between cat people and dog people:
“People who want a boss, have a cat.
People who do not want a boss, have dogs.”
I’ll never get a cat.
I consider myself to be very lucky and my life to have been full but, and I suppose many do, I do sometimes wonder who will know (other than the obvious) that I have been here.
The same cannot be said of a good friend, James Butler RA CBE
To be regarded as one of the best ever figurative sculptors with a veritable litany of important people beating a path to his door and examples of his work literally all over the world he will be remembered by all sorts.
This post will p**s off Engine Room as there are so many pics but the surprises, and there are many, of his incredible contributions to his audience’s pleasure range from
the breathtaking dolphin fountain in London’s Dolphin Square to
the seamstress in Leicester city centre and Daedalus
memorial to the Fleet Air Arm on the South Bank with an addition to interest our readers in the US…
Following some weekend reading material:
Pretty intelligent guy.
We do not talk about sex or finances. If you are wondering why, click on the link and read the answer. Then come back to this post and learn, why I am breaking the rule.
Equally short, equally true: Glynsky made me.
He threatened to fire me from my unpaid, unofficial position, unless I write something about Bitcoins. Why? I have no clue. My guess, our business magnate intends to move a portion of his vast fortune into this crypto-currency. Or, he already did and wants to use diablog to pump up the price. Your guess is a good as mine.
Now, before I lose my zero income from diablog, before I get some free time, here is a little bit about Bitcoin. No pun intended. If you aren’t interested, ignore this post. If you are, click on “continue reading”.
Making fun of the British PM is almost as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. Or stealing candy from a baby. Not that we would do that. But this man is turning a respected office into the laughing stock of the world. It was bad enough, when he said the UK Government needs to spy on its people, because that is how crimes are solved in TV shows.
But obviously the man is even more childish than that. Here is the most recent example. On March 4 his Twitter account posted the following:
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) March 5, 2014
Really? A photo of Mr. Important with a concerned face on the phone? This is how the British PM communicates with the people?
What’s next? Selfies in the bathroom? Photos of his meals on Instagram?
Luckily, the internet knows how to handle this. Heres the appropriate response:
Can someone send the guy back to kindergarten? Or any other place, where he cannot do any damage?
We had posts on diablog about Giga Pixel photos earlier. There is one about Cologne and London, and a panorama tour of St. Petersburg. Since Pete is still somewhere on cloud #9, I am putting up another photography post. This one is a giga pixel panorama shot from the top of my world, thanks to Time Magazine and Gigapan. Here is a screenshot:
For the whole thing go there: http://time.com/world-trade-center/
It was taken from the top of 1 World Trade Center. It is almost as breathtaking as the real view.
For Smiles’ visit this summer I recommend the helicopter flight, it is even more beautiful.
Take a virtual trip,