In which I wave the red flag

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Re: In which I wave the red flag

Postby nadir » 2011-11-18 09:29

I think it does not hurt to think about such questions (more or less security, privacy, and such), even if one lives in a country where right now it seems to be safe. It sure is not paranoia.
As one example out of many in one of those "free" countries encryption was not allowed. In that very country [0] right now the internet is planned to be censored to a degree not seen yet. One of the projects who did a big part in that fight, making encryption possible at all, was the Debian project. A project with a long tradition in encryption, but freedom and such too (see sentence one: it is _not paranoia, it happened, and it happened not that long ago).

Athiga, i strongly recommend the freedombox mailing list. You might find a lot of subjects you are interested in (and a lot of links too, say to retroshare). [1]
If it was me i would use the pm-system to get in touch, and then search for a better way to communicate (as i don't know much i would probably use jabber with gajim).
This way or that way: bash on! Your posts offer a lot of good info and thoughts to me and ( i know of) a few others.

[0] http://americancensorship.org/
[1] http://lists.alioth.debian.org/mailman/ ... ox-discuss

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Re: In which I wave the red flag

Postby carabela » 2011-11-18 11:42

nadir wrote:This way or that way: bash on! Your posts offer a lot of good info and thoughts to me and ( i know of) a few others.

+1
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Food for thought, I hope...

Postby Ahtiga Saraz » 2011-11-18 14:20

Many thanks to Randicus, dzz, nadir, carabela for moral support. This is much appreciated!

Nadir, can you put your links inside code tags? A security feature prevents my browser from attempting to follow "live" links. I need to do something else to visit a cited url.

As a general concern about mailing lists: because email addresses are generally exposed to public view (and even if hidden from most recipients, are probably held on less than secure servers), these can be easily used by intelligence agencies to collect email addresses of persons to monitor. Not just by "local" security services, but by foreign governments too. (I think many persons greatly underestimate the frequency with which "private eyes" or "rogue reporters"--- or nastier people posing as such--- obtain contact information by simply bribing a telecom or ISP employee. Or in some countries where criminal gangs are running out of control, by threatening them and their families with physical harm. In Mexico and the Caribbean, where the police forces are often ineffective and corrupt, such threats can be hard to resist.)

The fact that this occurs is illustrated by a recent case in the US which I mentioned in another thread. A man living in Leesburg, VA was arrested by US authorities of charges of spying on US persons suspected by Syrian intelligence of opposing the Assad regime. He had allegedly obtained (probably by bribery) contact information corresponding to email addresses, had taken videotape footage of "targets", was feeding this information back to Syrian intelligence. And then he purchased some guns.

When U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner spoke recently at a human rights conference in San Francisco organized by the EFF, he echoed several points I have tried to make, including these:
  • the nastiest regimes in the world (e.g. Syria, Zimbabwe) have been using the same "Western"-designed systems for universal population surveillance which are used by Western governments, except that unlike such countries as the UK, countries like Iran and Syria have for some time been using these systems to arrest political activists with sometimes deadly consequences,
  • the appearance of grassroots protests by bloggers should be a warning sign to regimes that they are in very serious trouble, but reacting by oppressing bloggers is likely to bring on the very consequence they most fear, a popular uprising such as has happened recently in several MENA nations,
  • IT workers have a responsibility to consider human rights issues.

My claim that even "Western" governments (not to mention the governments of Zimbabwe, Syria, Burma, etc.) maintain lists of "radicals" whom they intend to round up in case of "civil disturbances" is supported by numerous documents leaked from inside the US/UK Surveillance State, which show that, for example, the U.S. DHS is greatly concerned by the Occupy movement, which has recently taken fire, as well as the libertarian movement and other domestic political movements generally opposed to authoritarian rule. Hundreds of white papers and speculative warning memos issued by the US DHS, DOJ, and other US federal, state, and local agencies are readily available at sites like publicintelligence.net and cryptome.org.

My claim that the vision driving the growth of the US/UK Surveillance state is the notion that 24/7 universal population surveillance can entirely eliminate both crime and domestic political opposition to unpopular governmental policies is clearly spelled out in such documents as a white paper coauthored by William Bratton, a highly influential figure in "Western" policing, the man who was asked by UK Prime Minister David Cameron to advise the UK government on how to suppress any possible recurrence of the recent London riots, as the economic situation continues to worsen there and as young Britons become increasingly vocal about their poor prospects for a decent life. And the US authorities are very much aware that the European crisis is likely to soon deepen the economic depression in the US, which will no doubt further inflame unrest among young Americans and returning veterans who find their own prospects are poor and rapidly worsening. Both the US and UK governments have been fairly blunt that they intend to stop at nothing to prevent further rebellions such as the London riots, which they feel will require intimidation and other oppressive measures (both governments are helpless to actually fix the underlying economic problems, not because they are not fixable--- of course they are--- but because the 1% won't let them try).

@ traveler:

Thanks for the information about the image. I wonder whether it had occured to you that
Code: Select all
Location: Shooting Range
Well I'm never bored
When I'm a-killin' for the Lord

could be seen as intimidating to those of us who have had guns waved in our faces by persons threatening to harm us in consequence of our opinions/beliefs/ethnicity/whatever. I hope you will not be offended if I admit that when I see such violent word-imagery in "personal tags", I tend to assume the poster must be an American. Possibly a cultural misunderstanding, since for all I know you are quoting a line from an (American?) movie you happen to like, and did not intend to intimidate anyone, but clarification would be appreciated.
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Re: Food for thought, I hope...

Postby traveler » 2011-11-18 15:13

Ahtiga Saraz wrote:@ traveler:

Thanks for the information about the image. I wonder whether it had occured to you that
Code: Select all
Location: Shooting Range
Well I'm never bored
When I'm a-killin' for the Lord

could be seen as intimidating to those of us who have had guns waved in our faces by persons threatening to harm us in consequence of our opinions/beliefs/ethnicity/whatever. I hope you will not be offended if I admit that when I see such violent word-imagery in "personal tags", I tend to assume the poster must be an American. Possibly a cultural misunderstanding, since for all I know you are quoting a line from an (American?) movie you happen to like, and did not intend to intimidate anyone, but clarification would be appreciated.


I doubt your enhanced security system will let you view it, but what the heck...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L85MNzeAQn8
Circle Jerks, "Killing for Jesus"
And no, it's not meant to intimidate but also clearly not intended to be politically correct, either. Now you got me wondering if I might be among the first rounded up when the 1% decide the masses need to be culled! :shock:

Edit: Fixed the avatar and sig. Better to encourage children to smoke than to directly question the moral majority. :wink:
Last edited by traveler on 2011-11-18 15:34, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: In which I wave the red flag

Postby golinux » 2011-11-18 15:16

I can appreciate your concerns but thankfully, I'm just getting too old to be paranoid even though I am an activist of sorts probably with a big, fat file buried in some vault. Let the world spin as the world spins . . .
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Re: Food for thought, I hope...

Postby nadir » 2011-11-18 15:29

Ahtiga Saraz wrote:
Nadir, can you put your links inside code tags?.

Sure.
Code: Select all
http://americancensorship.org/
http://lists.alioth.debian.org/mailman/listinfo/freedombox-discuss

But it's nothing special. If you follow the freedombox-mailing list, or the freedombox at facebook, diaspora, identica, twitter, wherever, you will run across such info all the time.
I for one got hard times to understand it, but i am at it (the freedombox is like the center from which i investigate, and i follow the links and info i find there).
"I am not fine with it, so there is nothing for me to do but stand aside." M.D.
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Re: In which I wave the red flag

Postby dzz » 2011-11-19 01:52

Presumably, the author of this also suffers from mental illness

Code: Select all
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Re: In which I wave the red flag

Postby nadir » 2011-11-19 09:00

As a general concern about mailing lists: because email addresses are generally exposed to public view (and even if hidden from most recipients, are probably held on less than secure servers), these can be easily used by intelligence agencies to collect email addresses of persons to monitor. Not just by "local" security services, but by foreign governments too. (I think many persons greatly underestimate the frequency with which "private eyes" or "rogue reporters"--- or nastier people posing as such--- obtain contact information by simply bribing a telecom or ISP employee. Or in some countries where criminal gangs are running out of control, by threatening them and their families with physical harm. In Mexico and the Caribbean, where the police forces are often ineffective and corrupt, such threats can be hard to resist.)


a) you don't need to subscribe. Just read the archive, and follow the links found there.
b) I use a couple of email-addresses. It is a bit of a mess, but the main idea is to avoid the problem[s] you mention
c) i2p offers email too (though as far i understand it would only make sense as long you stay inside of i2p... not that sure)

Those problems and similar problems (how to create secure connections to fellow users, how to make sure the other end is really the one i expect, and not a secret agent trying to get info from me, etc) are getting discussed at said mailing list, and that is why i recommended it.
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Re: In which I wave the red flag

Postby Mr James » 2011-11-19 11:21

1. Every state is a surveillance state to some degree.
2. Every person that publicly disagrees with his/her government's immoral/illegal/illogical doings is an "activist" nowadays according to said government and has an X-File buried somewhere for Mulder and Scully to dig up.
3. I wonder if all the security measures taken by folks like the OP actually do more harm than good to an "activist"- it's like holding up a neon sign that says "I've got something to hide from the surveillance people".
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Re: In which I wave the red flag

Postby nadir » 2011-11-19 14:22

Mr James wrote:3. I wonder if all the security measures taken by folks like the OP actually do more harm than good to an "activist"- it's like holding up a neon sign that says "I've got something to hide from the surveillance people".

Depends. The more people do it, the more hard it is to guess who does it to "hide" something, and who does it only cause it is common to do it.
If everyone would encrypt their email....
I hope you got the idea. I am not an activist, and i use tor for said reason only.
Besides that there are subjects which are of no interest for any agency, but still people might consider them to be "private"
(i don't think it is the business of a website which other website i visited just a second ago).
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Re: In which I wave the red flag

Postby Mr James » 2011-11-19 17:53

Yeah but people only switch on tor for specific activities - for regular usage I'd rather have "they" and "them" track my ass than have to wait for eons for a single page to load anonymously.
Seriously, tor is painfully slow. It would be faster to catch a plane ride to the server on the other side of the planet, copy the page on a thumb drive, and fly back.
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Re: In which I wave the red flag

Postby golinux » 2011-11-19 18:42

And Tor on dialup? Knew better than to even try . . .
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Re: In which I wave the red flag

Postby nadir » 2011-11-20 09:17

That:
Mr James wrote:3. I wonder if all the security measures taken by folks like the OP actually do more harm than good to an "activist"- it's like holding up a neon sign that says "I've got something to hide from the surveillance people".

is contradictory to that:
Mr James wrote:Yeah but people only switch on tor for specific activities

First you say it means holding up a neon sign, in the next post you say people do it (and it sounds like you would consider it a good solution and the only solution).

I got no clue what people do. I do know that i don't do it like you say. Because it would not make much sense.

-------------
Dial-up does still exist? Holy Maria.
I would rather buy a wireless stick at the Aldi-discounter for a few bucks only.


-------------
Anyway the whole subject is about more than the usage of tor. If you can't use tor, don't use it, but don't make it sound as if it would refute the general approach/idea/problem of the OP (and a lot of other people too). There are lots of tools and options out there.
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IT workers should oppose the Surveillance State

Postby Ahtiga Saraz » 2011-11-20 18:55

@ traveler:

Circle Jerks, "Killing for Jesus"


You are correct, I can't see the video, but I infer this is some kind of comedic parody of the "Christian militancy" of the officer core of the US military. Anyway, thanks for the clarification.

@ dzz:

Re SOPA, the Washington Post has published a guest editorial strongly opposing it.

You know legislation msut be really, really, really bad when the range of opponents range from myself, Techdirt, EFF... through Google, Microsoft. The proponents? The big studios, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. You know something must be really, really bad for the 99% when the U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports it.

The Wikipedia article seems to have been bowdlerized, and unfortunately I do not have my source at hand, but if memory serves, in its early decades, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (founded in 1912) was known as the American Chamber of Commerce, and in the 1930s, it funneled money to the Nazi party, and editorialized in major U.S. newspapers about the virtues of Adolph Hitler (who had reduced unemployment to zero, reenergized manufacturing, and who was of course also plotting World War II and the worst genocide yet committed.) So did Morgan bank (now incorporated into Morgan-Stanley) and Henry Ford.

(Off topic but interesting: few if any Americans seem to recall either of these factual tidbits about the Roosevelt administration:
  • the WPA was closely modeled on similar Nazi programmes; even its propaganda posters often closely resembled contemporaneous Nazi and Stalinist "artwork" glorifying the industrious worker.
  • Roosevelt succeeded in taxing the rich at something like 91%, later 94%, on the first 0.1 million annually. Needless to say, the upper classes did not disappear from American life, nor did industrialists cease investing in the US, during the late 1930s and through World War II. After the war, the tax rate after the first 0.1 million annually was gradually reduced decade by decade; recently the U.S. congress was unable to pass something like an increase to 34% on income after the first 0.1 million annually.
As I keep saying, everyone should study American history, if only in order to laugh at the often astonishing ignorance of most Americans about their own history. But in fairness, this ignorance is due not to low intelligence but to the appallingly poor "history textbooks", or better say, propaganda screeds too boring even for a Stalinist schoolchild to try to actually read, which are used in virtually every American classroom. So we should not be too hard on the benighted American citizen; powerful forces have been hard at work for a century keeping him/her in ignorance of such interesting items as the fact that while--- Hollywood movies notwithstanding--- the former Soviet Union never literally invaded the USA, the USA literally invaded the Soviet Union. Secretly. That was one of Woodrow Wilson's nastier and all-too-thoroughly-forgotten failed initiatives. Among the voices trying to expose the secret invasion was Helen Keller, a cofounder of the ACLU. Keller is often held up to American students as an exemple of how "in America, anyone can do anything" [sic]. But if these students read her autobiography, they would find that she explicitly recognized that had her parents not been wealthy, they would not have been able to hire the gifted teacher who helped her overcome the handicap of being both deaf and blind. She herself said that in America, persons born poor have very limited opportunities for self-improvement. Schoolbook hagiographies omit to mention that in adulthood, Helen Keller became a "far left radical" who supported such alleged "dangers to American society" as trade unions, in an era when US presidents routinely called out the National Guard to assault strikers. And in another echo of modern "spinmastery", the very same newspaper editorialists who initially praised her remarkable resiliance in overcomuing such severe handicaps turned on her, with vicious references to her lack of sensory experience, when she turned radical. In short, if she were still alive, Helen Keller would not doubt be a vocal opponent of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and everything it stands for.)

Anyone spot the horrible irony in this lineup of opponents and proponents?

Oh well, frequent encounters with betrayals of trust is a well known feature of life as a political dissident.

@ Mr. James:

1. Every state is a surveillance state to some degree.


Should citizens in the "Western democracies" take that as a "valid excuse" [sic] for the fact that multinational corporations based in the USA, UK, France, Canada, etc., have been busy teaching the worst regimes in the world how to use their immmensely intrusive and dangerous (and expensive) universal population surveillance systems to suppress the desire of their citizens for self determination? Thus sowing the seeds of their own destruction? Even if you prefer stability to chaos, in the long run, it makes no sense to support the Surveillance State wherever it may be found.

I would also point out that by all measures, experts agree, the nation with the most extensive universal population surveillance system is not China but the USA. The UK and other close allies follow close behind, but are limited by their budgets. Many citizens of "Western democracies" might be surprised to learn that when statisticians tabulate policing by the numbers, certain nations stand out as having an unusually large percentage of the population who work as uniformed police officers, and even more important, an unusually large percentage of the population who work as private security guards. These countries include Zimbabwe, certain repressive Latin American and MENA countries... and the USA.

What do these countries have in common? A vast disparity in wealth between the top 1% and everyone else. A vast cadre of private security guards is apparently a reliable indicator of a highly stratified society in which a tiny minority holds all the power and wealth.

China is among the countries with the smallest police force, per capita, and also has relatively few private security guards. That is actually one reason why internet crime flourishes in China (and ironically, also one reason why the Chinese government places particular emphasis upon extensive internet monitoring). Endemic corruption, particularly among local officials, also plays a major role, of course.

Some countries whose autocratic leaders deeply fear the increasingly plausible prospect of popular rebellion, such as Saudi Arabia (which has a large and growing population of poor people), actually have policies of hiring unemployed people to work as (poorly trained) private security guards, in an undisguised attempt to divide loyalties among the poorer sections of society (the subpopulation with the least to lose and the most to gain by risking rebellion). The same pattern is seen in some of the most unstable Latin American and Caribbean countries. This ought to suggest to Saudi authorities that such strategies do not promote stability in the long run.

Gosh, now I sound like Hillary Clinton, don't I? (Two of the four preceding paragraphs echo points U.S. diplomats have made in public or in private.)

2. Every person that publicly disagrees with his/her government's immoral/illegal/illogical doings is an "activist" nowadays according to said government and has an X-File buried somewhere for Mulder and Scully to dig up.


One of the major points I have been trying to make is that under the US model of the Surveillance State, everyone has an extensive dossier. Remember "six degrees of freedom"? The US secret police have consistently stated for many years (which doesn't make it true, of course) that when they are "looking at" some citizen who has become a "target of interest", they routinely look at acquaintances of acquaintances of acquaintances of the target (that's four degrees). Everyone should think about how hard it is, no matter how "sheeplike" you yourself may think yourself to be, to not know anyone who knows anyone who knows anyone who knows a potential "target".

(And "target" is a rather ominous word in this context. I recall the "joke" of Aaron Barr that he hadn't yet located the "missile coordinates" of Anonymous sympathizers, a reference to the deadly drones manufactured by his previous employer, Northrup Grumman. And I point to the current furore in Germany over revelations that a veteran intelligence officers appears to have been involved in several murders committed by a neonazi group which was targeting persons simply because they were immigrants; see
Code: Select all
http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=71388

Such abuses are the inevitable consequence when any nations permits, nay encourages, the untrammeled growth of a vast secret police establishment subject to no meaningful oversight by the civilian political authorities.)

3. I wonder if all the security measures taken by folks like the OP actually do more harm than good to an "activist"- it's like holding up a neon sign that says "I've got something to hide from the surveillance people".


people only switch on tor for specific activities


Not neccessarily. Many use Tor for almost all of their web browsing sessions.

tor is painfully slow


When was the last time you tried Tor? I have found that browsing with Tor "on" is no slower than with Tor "off". To be sure, I guess that one reason why many users report similar experiences is that Torified DNS lookup tends to be much faster (and, my unscientific data suggests, more trustworthy) than the painfully slow DNS lookup used by many ISPs.

@ go-linux:

And Tor on dialup? Knew better than to even try . . .


Well, I have tried it, and in my experience, using Tor enhances the speed of browsing with a dialup connection. Because then there is no packet transfer slowdown to cancel out the faster DNS lookup when using Tor.

@ nadir:

Dial-up does still exist?


Many users have political reasons for preferring to seek out ISPs which may provide only dial-up service, in preference to local ISPs which are too closely tied to the secret police. Long live dial-up!

The more people do it, the more hard it is to guess who does it to "hide" something, and who does it only cause it is common to do it.


Exactly. And in my opinion, anyone who doesn't think that hiding from Google, Comscore, and other spycos is not sufficient reason to use Tor routinely, probably simply doesn't know very much about what those companies are doing to unwary websurfers. I'd summarize the situation thus: at the dawn of the 21st century, in order simply to live it is neccesary not only to regularly draw breath and occasionally consume food, but also to surf the web. And an unavoidable consequence is that one must continually emit CO_2 and personal information. And the spycos are constantly working on ways to "monetize" that personal information, like birds pecking for bits of grain. ("Crow" is a slang term used by many spooks to describe their profession.) To the spycos, we are all simply prey items to be consumed for their own benefit. We may believe--- certainly we ought to believe--- that if anyone should own our own lives, it is we ourselves. But the spycos rather literally are constantly stealing and selling our lives, our innermost thoughts. How stupid it would be if we all continue to let them get away with that without even attempting to put up a fight!
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