This week marked the 110th birthday of George Orwell, who penned the dystopian government-surveillance novel 1984, coining the phrase "Big Brother" in the process. To celebrate, the Dutch artists at Front404 hit the streets, decking out surveillance cameras with party hats. The usually anonymous-looking cams looked a little more conspicuous, highlighting how, as the 404Front team puts it on their site, "the surveillance state described by Orwell is getting closer and closer to reality." Something tells me they may be right about that.
The Sumerians were a great people.
It seems down hill ever since, ....... sad sigh.
Here is a good read link.
"... Today, the NSA has PRISM. In the 1960s, it had STRETCH.
Also known as the IBM 7030, STRETCH was the supercomputer of its day, running at speeds roughly 25 times faster than typical machines. It made its debut in 1961 at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where it was used to perform massive simulations related to nuclear-power and nuclear-weapons research, and a year later, the National Security Agency received a customized version known as IBM 7950 Harvest, using the multi-million-dollar machine as part of its cryptography operations.
It was, in short, the world’s most powerful computer. At least for a time. The room-sized machine finally gave up the ghost in 1980, after it was surpassed by much faster — and much smaller — systems. A year later, Brigham Young University put together a film detailing the history of this seminal machine, and you can watch every bit of it below, courtesy of a video from the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.
When the STRETCH project was first announced in 1955, IBM chief Thomas J. Watson Jr. boasted it would be 100 times faster than the next most powerful machine of the way. It didn’t quite work out that way, but the 7030 — which sold for around $10 million — was certainly head and shoulders above the competition, and it introduced several technologies that would go on to redefine the way computers operated, including multiprogramming, where machines run more than one job at the same time, and error-correcting code memory, which can automatically detect and correct data corruption.
The machine stretched across 2,500 square feet of floor space, spanning 60 separate pieces of wardrobe-sized hardware. But unlike earlier IBM machines, it did not use vacuum tubes to store and process information. It was the first IBM machine equipped with transistors, as the video below shows. The memory subsystem reached 256K, which is minuscule by today’s standards, but in the early ’60s, that was about six times larger than the average machine of the day.
In other words, it offered enough hardware to satisfy even the NSA... "
Here is a good read link.
9 Biggest Data Encryption Myths Busted
By David Tishgart, Gazzang 05.23.13 3:25 PM
"... Rarely a day goes by that you don’t hear about a data breach. Hospital records stolen. Social media accounts hacked. Education transcripts revealed. Every industry is susceptible and every company is at risk. The result can be embarrassing and expensive at best and absolutely crippling at worst, with potential fines, time-consuming lawsuits, and subsequent loss of customer trust.
The steady pace of breaches reinforces the need for encryption as a last line of defense. Recently however, one of the oldest and most effective security tactics has been largely relegated to an afterthought in today’s new cloud and big data environments.
This is the result of some common misperceptions about encryption and key management related to cost, performance and ease of use.
Today we set the record straight, breaking down the nine biggest encryptions myths.
MYTH 1: Encryption is only for organizations that have compliance requirements. Certainly any company in a regulated industry that mandates data security and privacy should encrypt. That’s a no brainer. But a better way to think about encryption is this: if you’ve got data about your products, customers, employees or market, that you believe is sensitive/competitive, then you should ALWAYS encrypt it, whether there’s a legal obligation or not.
MYTH 2: SSL encrypts data everywhere.
SSL only encrypts data in motion; it does not cover data at rest. As data is written to disk, whether it’s stored for one minute or several years, it should be encrypted.
MYTH 3: Encryption is too complicated and requires too many resources.
Data encryption can be as complicated or as easy as you want to make it. The key is to understand the type of data that needs to be encrypted, where it lives and who should have access to it. There are plenty of readily available, easy to use and affordable encryption tools on the market. If application performance is important, look for a transparent data encryption solution that sits beneath the application layer and does not require modifications to your operating system, application, data or storage.
MYTH 4: Encryption will kill database performance.
There are a number of factors that impact database performance, and encryption is just one. Application-level encryption tends to pack the greatest performance hit, while the file-level encryption penalty is much lower. For maximum application performance, run block-level encryption on a system utilizing the Intel AES-NI co-processor.
MYTH 5: Encryption doesn’t make the cloud more secure.
On the contrary, in many cases storing encrypted data in the cloud is oftentimes more secure than keeping it on premises where insiders may have easier access. To ensure the safekeeping of encrypted data in the cloud, make sure you, not your cloud provider, maintain control of the encryption keys. If your provider requires you to hand over your keys, find another cloud service.
MYTH 6: Encrypted data is secure data.
Too many organizations fail to effectively manage their encryption keys, either storing them on the same server as the encrypted data or allowing a cloud provider to manage them. Storing the key on the same server as your data or handing them over to your cloud provider is akin to locking your car and leaving the keys in the door. Good key management, with strong policy enforcement makes all the difference.
MYTH 7: Key management requires expensive, cloud-adverse hardware.
While this was once true, today there are effective software-based solutions that enable organizations to deploy key management in the cloud or on premises. These solutions can typically be provisioned far faster than hardware security modules (HSMs), are very cloud friendly and meet most compliance statutes.
MYTH 8: If your data is encrypted, it can’t be stolen.
There is no security solution that will protect your data 100%. In fact, companies should operate with the mindset that their data can and likely will be compromised at some point in time. Data encryption can make the breach aftermath much more palatable though, since encrypted data cannot be decrypted without the key
MYTH 9: Encryption is old school. I need a newer security technology to protect big data.
Data encryption is a proven security technique that works very well in modern NoSQL environments. As big data projects move from pilot to production, sensitive data such as protected health information (PHI), financial records, and other forms of personally identifiable information (PII) will likely be captured, processed, analyzed and stored. Encryption is just as integral to securing data in NoSQL as it is in traditional relational database systems.
Firewalls and VPNs can provide some protection against data breaches and theft, but there is no substitute for strong encryption and effective key management, especially in big data and cloud environments. Now that the biggest myths have been busted, there’s no longer an excuse not to encrypt... "
Here is a good read link.
Encryption Has Foiled Wiretaps for First Time Ever, Feds Say
By David Kravets 06.28.13 3:14 PM
"... For the first time, encryption is thwarting government surveillance efforts through court-approved wiretaps, U.S. officials said today.
The disclosure, buried in a report by the U.S. agency that oversees federal courts, also showed that authorities armed with wiretap orders are encountering more encryption than before.
The revelation comes as encryption has come front and center in the wake of the NSA Spygate scandal, and as Americans consider looking for effective ways to scramble their communications from the government’s prying eyes.
According to today’s report from the U.S. Administrative Office of the Courts:
Encryption was reported for 15 wiretaps in 2012 and for 7 wiretaps conducted during previous years. In four of these wiretaps, officials were unable to decipher the plain text of the messages. This is the first time that jurisdictions have reported that encryption prevented officials from obtaining the plain text of the communications since the AO began collecting encryption data in 2001.
Those figures are just a blip on the screen in the office’s 2012 Wiretap Report, which said there were 3,395 authorized wiretaps from federal or state judges. (The figures, a significant increase from 2011′s reported 2,732, do not account for those secretly authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which is at the center of the Spygage firestorm.)
To be sure, the encryption numbers begin to highlight the government’s stated fear, and its propaganda railing against encryption — which is a standard feature on today’s Apple computers.
Consider that, when federal law enforcement officials were clamoring for legislation authorizing a backdoor into most all electronic communication methods during the President Bill Clinton administration, FBI Director Louis Freeh told Congress in 1997, “all of law enforcement is also in total agreement on one aspect of encryption. The widespread use of uncrackable encryption will devastate our ability to fight crime and prevent terrorism.”
Sixteen years later, and judging by the government’s own accounting, we’re not even close to Freeh’s fears becoming reality, despite the government’s continued push for a backdoor into virtually everything.
The report, meanwhile, said that 97 percent of the wiretaps issued last year were for “portable devices” such as mobile phones and pagers. About 87 percent of the wiretaps were issued in drug-related cases, the report said. Other equipment tapped included computers, phone land lines, fax machines and, among other things, microphones... "
Here is a good read link.
Here’s a Good Reason to Encrypt Your Data
By David Kravets 04.23.13 6:29 PM
"... There’s many reasons to password-protect — or encrypt — one’s digital data. Foremost among them is to protect it during a security breach.
Another top reason is to keep the government out of your hard drive.
The issue is front and center as a federal magistrate is refusing to order a Wisconsin computer scientist to decrypt his data that the authorities seized from kiddie-porn suspect Jeffrey Feldman. The reason is simple: The Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination protects even those suspected of unsavory crimes, according to U.S. Magistrate William Callahan Jr. of Wisconsin, who wrote:
This is a close call, but I conclude that Feldman’s act of production, which would necessarily require his using a password of some type to decrypt the storage device, would be tantamount to telling the government something it does not already know with ‘reasonably particularity’—namely, that Feldman has personal access to and control over the encrypted storage devices. Accordingly, in my opinion, Fifth Amendment protection is available to Feldman. Stated another way, ordering Feldman to decrypt the storage devices would be in violation of his Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination. (.pdf)
Hanni Fakhoury, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, stressed that the decision was important, and not because it might hinder a kiddie-porn prosecution.
“This isn’t just about child porn. It’s about anything on your computer that prosecutors or government officials may want,” he said in a telephone interview.
Federal prosecutors did not immediately respond for comment, but said in court papers they have spent months trying to decrypt the data.
“The FBI is performing admirable in the digital arms race between those seeking to hide evidence of their wrongdoing through encryption and law enforcement officers seeking to uncover that evidence; but the expense in time and resources in investigating cases like this one is beginning to inhibit the provision of justice,” the government said (.pdf) in seeking the magistrate to compel the suspect to unlock the data.
The suspect was not immediately reachable.
To be sure, decryption orders are rare, and they have never been squarely addressed by the Supreme Court despite varying opinions in the lower courts.
Just last year, for example, a federal appeals court rejected an appeal from a bank-fraud defendant who has been ordered to decrypt her laptop so its contents could be used in her criminal case. The issue was later mooted for defendant Romano Fricosu as a co-defendant eventually supplied a password.
Contrary to the Wisconsin child pornography case, however, the Fricosu matter was distinguishable because the authorities had evidence that her hard drive might contain evidence against her, meaning the court felt her Fifth Amendment rights were not at issue. That’s because the authorities had recorded a jailhouse conversation between her and a co-defendant, in which the laptop’s contents were discussed.
It’s worth noting that encryption is not 100 percent effective... "
As my beloved government pursues avenues for my own security, my own security is unraveling in front of my eyes with the tools my government uses to protect me.
20 Billion or more spent annually of the NSA.
Now imagine science or medical science has a budget of 20 billion more instead for the benefit of humanity.
PUT TERRORISM IN PERSPECTIVE
"...Terrorism is the "greatest threat of the 21st century". But only according to the US, the UK, and Israel.
In the corporate mass media news, we hear the word "terrorism" many times almost every day, but what about the real problems in the world today?
Next time you leave your house, beware, because crossing the road is many hundreds of thousands of times more of a threat to your life than terrorism.
THE TRUTH ABOUT TERRORISM
0: People killed in the USA by terrorism/WMD in 2006.
(Thousands killed by the US and its allies in foreign countries.)
0: People killed in the UK by terrorism/WMD in 2006.
0: People killed in the USA by terrorism/WMD in 2005.
52: killed in the UK by terrorism/WMD in 2005 (all on "7/7").
0: People in the USA killed by terrorism/WMD in 2004.
0: People in the UK killed by terrorism/WMD in 2004.
0: People in the USA killed by terrorism/WMD in 2003.
0: People in the UK killed by terrorism/WMD in 2003.
0: People in the USA killed by terrorism/WMD in 2002.
0: People in the UK killed by terrorism/WMD in 2002.
2,752: in USA killed by terrorism in 2001 (all on "9/11").
0: People in the UK killed by terrorism/WMD in 2001.
0: People in the USA killed by terrorism/WMD in 2000.
0: People in the UK killed by terrorism/WMD in 2000.
WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD
1.2 MILLION: People in killed in road accidents EVERY YEAR.
430,000: Americans killed by cigarettes EVERY YEAR. (The equivalent of 9/11 repeated every two days forever.) Bush's response to a real threat? His election promise to stop the Justice Department's law suit against the tobacco industry.
400,000: Americans die each year from obesity (while much greater numbers around the world starve to death).
11,000: the people killed in America every year by guns, a human tragedy equivalent to a new 9/11 every 3 months.
8,437: Civilians killed by US/UK attacks in Iraq in 2003.
3,800: Civilians killed by US/UK attacks in Afghanistan by 2002.
135,000: Deaths from cancer in UK alone EVERY YEAR
3 MILLION: Killed by HIV/AIDS in 2003.
780,000,000: People starving to death RIGHT NOW.
1.2 BILLION: People "living" on less than $1 a day.
513,000,000: Number of people without access to safe drinking water.
2,500: Palestinian civillians killed "by accident" in Palestine by the Israeli army - and that's just since September 2000.
14,000: Palestinian people whose homes have been demolished by Israeli bulldozers - and that's just since October 2000. Families who do not escape in time are crushed to death - often at night in their beds.
* Global warming has already killed more people than terrorism, "based on the number of fatalities that have already occurred".
The Independent (UK), "Scientist 'gagged' by No 10 after warning of global warming threat", front-page, 8 March 2004.
[ http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/environment/story.jsp?story=499013 ]
THE REAL TERRORISTS
Nobody has benefitted more from terrorism than the US, the UK, and Israel. They use terrorism as an excuse to change the law, giving more power to the authorities and withdrawing freedoms from the people. They use terrorism as an excuse to attack and conquer foreign lands. They exploit our fear to win support.
If terrorism and WMD are such a threat, what are the causes? Nobody provides more money to terrorist groups and rogue states than the US and the UK. Nobody has or sells more weapons than the US and UK.
Can you see what is happening here? Or are you still afraid of the boogey-man?... "
Here is a good read link.
NSA Leak Vindicates AT&T Whistleblower
By David Kravets 06.27.13 3:09 PM
"... Today’s revelations that the National Security Agency collected bulk data on the email traffic of millions of Americans provides startling evidence for the first time to support a whistleblower’s longstanding claims that AT&T was forwarding global internet traffic to the government from secret rooms inside its offices.
The collection program, which lasted from 2001 to 2011, involved email metadata — the “enveloped” information for email that reveals the sender’s address and recipient, as well as IP addresses and websites visited, the Guardian newspaper reported today.
Mark Klein. Photo/Wikipedia
Mark Klein, a retired AT&T communications technician, revealed in 2006 that his job duties included connecting internet circuits to a splitting cabinet that led to a secret room in AT&T’s San Francisco office. During the course of that work, he learned from a co-worker that similar cabins were being installed in other cities, including Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego, he said.
The split circuits included traffic from peering links connecting to other internet backbone providers, meaning that AT&T was also diverting traffic routed from its network to or from other domestic and international providers, Klein said.
That’s how the data was being vacuumed to the government, Klein said today.
“This is a complete vindication,” Klein, a San Francisco Bay area retired man, said in a telephone interview.
Wired was leaked and subsequently published Klein’s documents detailing the spying equipment in 2006, when he said an NSA agent showed up years before to interview a management-level technician for a special job.
Klein’s documents were lodged under seal in an Electronic Frontier Foundation lawsuit accusing the government of siphoning Americans’ communications to the NSA.
“This is exactly what we’ve been arguing in court for years,” Trevor Timm, an EFF digital-rights analyst, said in a telephone interview.
The documents, in part, fueled the lawsuit that so scared Congress that lawmakers passed legislation immunizing AT&T and any other telecommunications companies from being sued for assisting the NSA’s dragnet surveillance program.
“They are collecting everything on everybody,” Klein said.
After Congress killed the litigation, the EFF sued the government instead. That case is pending in a San Francisco federal courtroom... "
More fun reads and links about NSA.
One of the Culprits Behind PRISM? Design Thinking (Really)
Phew, NSA Is Just Collecting Metadata. (You Should Still Worry)
It’s Beyond Ridiculous That Email (But Not Mail) Has Been Left Out of Privacy Laws
The Whistleblower’s Guide to the Orwellian Galaxy: How to Leak to the Press
Why ‘I Have Nothing to Hide’ Is the Wrong Way to Think About Surveillance
my classmate's step-aunt makes $89 every hour on the internet. She has been without work for 6 months but last month her pay check was $16775 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on this site...... www.bay95.com
Sadly, the "artists" putting party hats on government surveillance cameras as an act of political protest are the same people that helped put the governments operating the cameras in power. Rather than public displays of party hats, they should be posting public letters of apology for their stupid political choices in the recent past.
Colin, the numbering system of comments is strange, why?
Is this article to be only about party hats?