ER

Twitter can go and …

Dear Reader,

For a while diablog used twitter. It was an experiment. We had some fun, learned a lot, and then we grew tired of it.

From around 2010 twitter was an interesting platform. It developed into a news or PR channel. On twitter you could read news, before they became news. Twitter was a preferred channel of Wikileaks, Anonymous, Occupy Wall Street, and many other individuals and groups. Twitter was an important communication channel during the Arab Spring and other ‘world events’.

One reason for its importance was, that Twitter was against censorship. While other internet platforms like F*c*book closed accounts quickly, demanded real names and cellphone numbers, Twitter stood out. You could remain anonymous on twitter. A prime example is @avunitanon, the last member of notorious LulzSec, who is not identified. At least officially.

Now twitter is changing. It has joined the other politically correct, pussy footing, censoring platforms. The fig leaf is “hate speech”. This is the announcement: https://blog.twitter.com/2016/combating-violent-extremism

Now twitter is proud, that:

Since the middle of 2015 alone, we’ve suspended over 125,000 accounts for threatening or promoting terrorist acts, primarily related to ISIS.

And on:

We cooperate with law enforcement entities when appropriate. In July 2015, FBI Director James Comey recognized Twitter’s commitment to blocking terrorist content, praising us as “very good and thoughtful and hardworking at trying to shut down [terrorism-related] accounts.”

Less than six months ago, in September 2015, twitter was proud to have Edward Snowden using its service. I guess that will change, when the new twitter buddies from the FBI – or their friends from the NSA – want some more ‘commitment’.

The lesson from this?

Use the internet, not internet platforms. If you want to say something, do so on a website you control. Do not expect any internet platform platform to act in your favor or on your behalf.

Our Idiot of the Day Medal goes to twitter.

Stay tuned,

Engine Room

ER

Told you so

Dear Reader,

Nobody likes the phrase “I told you so”. So please accept my apology for using it.

After the break in at Hacking Team, people with way more knowledge than anyone at diablog started to look through the data. And they already found proof of two things we have been warning you about in the past.

  1. it has a backdoor
  2. it can plant false evidence

The backdoor means, Hacking Team is able to access any computer, its software is running on. They can spy on their customers, alter the software, manipulate the results, everything.

So, let’s say, your government uses their software to spy on you. Your government is recording all your communication. All cellphone calls, all emails, all sms, skype calls, etc. And Hacking team has full access to all this at any time they like.

Do you feel safer now? Aren’t you happy, the US and UK governments ‘invested’ your tax money in such a product?

And it gets worse.

The software from hacking team has another feature. Security researchers found code, that suggests the software can plant false evidence on computers, once they are cracked. What kind of evidence? Child pornography and bomb building plans. Nice!

One hast to take into consideration, that all the code has been in other hands. Nobody knows for certain, whether of not it is original. It could have been altered. We also do not know, what parts of it have been used.

But we said it all along on diablog:

Anyone with access to your data can plant false evidence among it. If they have access to your computer, it can be planted there. If they have access to your online accounts “in the cloud” (aka gmail, iTunes, Flickr, yahoo, Microsoft Live Mail), it can be planted there.

And then you try to defend yourself against charges of possession of child pornography. Where the accusation alone ruins your life. Or, if it is the bomb building plan, you can be held without access to a lawyer, without legal advice, for days. Or, worst case, be shipped off to Guantanamo.

We need to stop our politicians and governments to engage in this kind of behavior.

Stay tuned,

Engine Room

PS: Thanks go to to all the people inspecting the data, and explaining it to normal people. And to WikiLeaks for initiating all of this with the publication of The Spy Files.

ER

What does it take?

Dear Reader,

Especially, dear British citizens, what does it take to wake you up?

Slumber is a great state. Warm, cozy, comfortable, free of worries. But every day you leave it, get out of the comfort zone, and start living. At least most of us do. What motivates you to do so?

I ask, because you Brits are asleep when it comes to democracy. I know, many of you still think of yourself as subjects, not as citizens. Those are excluded from this discussion. But what about the other ones? What does it take to wake you up?

Since 2008 or 2011 your government has put all of you under surveillance. All of you, all of your telecommunication. The program is called Tempora, you can read about it here. Presumed innocent does not exist in the UK. Habeas corpus? Gone. The magna carta, of which Glynsky is so proud, has no relevance anymore.

And now your newly re-elected Prime Minister is convinced (emphasis mine):

“For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone.”

Too long? Isn’t that the basis of a lawful state? Obey the law, and you are fine?

Not anymore. At least not in the UK. The UK now has thought crime. Because:

“This government will conclusively turn the page on this failed approach.”

You can read it all commented here. Welcome to 1984.

Just in case someone does not understand:

1) We know what you are thinking thanks to Tempora (emails, web history, chats, sms, etc)

plus

2) We do not like what you are thinking about race, religion, gender, democracy, …

equals

3) You will go to jail.

Back to my question, and I mean it: What does it take to wake you up?

To all others I say: sweet dreams.

Engine Room

ER

Please watch this

Dear Reader,

May you live in interesting times” is an old Chinese proverb. You might know it from the very good movie “Disclosure“, where the always brilliant Donald Sutherland as Bob Garvin uses the line in a speech. The great misunderstanding in the West was and maybe still is, the Chinese see it as a curse.

In line with the Chinese meaning, the internet – or rather we as users – are experiencing interesting times.

Following please find a great speech by Bruce Schneier, a brilliant mind, and a true expert. He explains where we are at, what our options are and what we should do.

No worries, this is NOT a technical presentation:

You can find more about Bruce Schneier here at Wikipedia or here at his own website.

Stay tuned,

Engine Room

ER

35 years

Dear Reader,

With all the NSA scandals and British government gone totally mad, one might forget Bradley Manning. Today he received his sentencing:

35 Years in Prison

for informing the world about US war crimes.

As long as people like Manning, Assange and Snowden are political prisoners, in the sense that they are imprisoned or persecuted for political reasons, I will keep playing the following record, which we had on diablog before. If you happen to know a better suited or more recent one, please, let me know:

Remember when political prisoners were condemned in the United States, instead of imprisoned in the United States? It wasn’t that long ago.

With an ardent “fuck you” to Obama,

Engine Room

Glynsky

white is at the hart of it…

Dear diablog,

Pete appears to have all but disappeared off the face of the planet.
To those that care I offer my sincerest condolences but for the rest of us happy folk it is like breaking wind, a revolution, a rebirth, from monochrome to technicolour.

The colour simile really fits as this may be the reason for the mental decline of that once fertile and, sometimes, amusing wordsmith. Be it that he was only at his best when berating me I, Glynsky the Magnanimous always forgave – but Pete finds it difficult to bend (arthritis?) from his self imposed ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’.

To return to colour and Pete. This whole discourse surrounds three colours, blue, red and white – two of which are prime and one, we are told by some, does not exist.
Whew, that link was a whole lot more interesting than the subject of this post!!!

So, when faced with ‘what are your favourite colours’ poor ol’ Pete made the wrong choice – ONLY…

Continue reading

ER

Good News: You will get to be a Hero

Dear Reader,

Diablog is about the good things in life. And here comes one of the best:

You will get to be a hero!
Like every hero, you get the challenge first. Not from me, but from Bruce Schneier. Bruce who?
Bruce Schneier is Chief Security Technology Officer of BT. For Non-Brits, BT is short for British Telecom, one of the largest telecommunication and internet companies in the world, check here for more. Besides this, The Economist calls Mr. Schneier a “Security Guru”.
Did I establish his credibility? If not, read more about him. If I did, continue.
So, what does Mr. Schneier have to say?
The Internet is a Surveillance State
Neither Mr. Schneier, nor diablog is in the business of spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt, (FUD). This post is not to alarm you. I would like you to remain calm and read on.
Following are some quotes from Mr. Schneier’s article at CNN.
But I do encourage you to read it all.
The Internet is a surveillance state. Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, and whether we like it or not, we’re being tracked all the time. Google tracks us, both on its pages and on other pages it has access to. Facebook does the same; it even tracks non-Facebook users. Apple tracks us on our iPhones and iPads. One reporter used a tool called Collusion to track who was tracking him; 105 companies tracked his Internet use during one 36-hour period.
Everything is now being saved and correlated, and many big-data companies make money by building up intimate profiles of our lives from a variety of sources.
Facebook, for example, correlates your online behavior with your purchasing habits offline. And there’s more. There’s location data from your cell phone, there’s a record of your movements from closed-circuit TVs.

This is ubiquitous surveillance: All of us being watched, all the time, and that data being stored forever. This is what a surveillance state looks like, and it’s efficient beyond the wildest dreams of George Orwell.

This isn’t something the free market can fix. We consumers have no choice in the matter. All the major companies that provide us with Internet services are interested in tracking us. Visit a website and it will almost certainly know who you are; there are lots of ways to be tracked without cookies. Cellphone companies routinely undo the web’s privacy protection. One experiment at Carnegie Mellon took real-time videos of students on campus and was able to identify one-third of them by comparing their photos with publicly available tagged Facebook photos.

Maintaining privacy on the Internet is nearly impossible.

If the director of the CIA can’t maintain his privacy on the Internet, we’ve got no hope.

In today’s world, governments and corporations are working together to keep things that way. Governments are happy to use the data corporations collect — occasionally demanding that they collect more and save it longer — to spy on us. And corporations are happy to buy data from governments. Together the powerful spy on the powerless, and they’re not going to give up their positions of power, despite what the people want.
Fixing this requires strong government will, but they’re just as punch-drunk on data as the corporations. Slap-on-the-wrist fines notwithstanding, no one is agitating for better privacy laws.
So, we’re done. Welcome to a world where Google knows exactly what sort of porn you all like, and more about your interests than your spouse does. Welcome to a world where your cell phone company knows exactly where you are all the time. Welcome to the end of private conversations, because increasingly your conversations are conducted by e-mail, text, or social networking sites.
And welcome to a world where all of this, and everything else that you do or is done on a computer, is saved, correlated, studied, passed around from company to company without your knowledge or consent; and where the government accesses it at will without a warrant.

That sounds like a challenge. What do you have to do?

Continue reading