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  • Aug 13th, 2015 @ 9:37am

    customers who want actual control of the hardware they own

    This is a great article because it gives a nice clear example of not only what corporate-level actors think of our privacy and security, but also just how opportunistically they will act when left to their own unregulated and profit-driven whims.

    It leads me to ponder: between now and the future of armed AI battlebots kicking down doors instead of cops, what kind of future can we predict for implantable computing?

    Lenovo's actions are a nice foreshadowing.

    So are smart tv's that share your every spoken word with third parties.

    So are advanced persistent threats in the hard drive mcu firmware(s) and unpatchable firmware vulnerabilities that affect nearly every USB memory stick in existence.

    So is the hidden second operating system in every phone, the baseband OS.

    So are the terms in the Windows 10 license agreement that obligate the user to agree to so many kinds of spying, automatic updating, and remote top-down command-and-control from big brother Microsoft.

    For that matter, so are the ubiquitous, corporate-owned, proprietary and for-profit nature of the cell phone and internet network architectures. Why aren't corporations racing to embrace the Internet Of Things and the future beyond by designing an open, community-owned, peer routed and decentralized network architecture where all we will need to do to join is put up an antenna? Something that is free to join, neighborhood-centric, and useful for civic and community organising?

    Its clear that if the hardware manufacturers are left to their own devices (pun intended), implanatable computing with a proprietary for-profit software-as-a-service unmoddable hardware locked proprietary baseband operating system, and advanced persistent spyware and adware in every BIOS and firmware will be the norm, and not some glaring exception.

  • Jul 31st, 2015 @ 9:54pm

    Old news is how old? Very.

    I'm surprised how few netizens, journalists and regular citizens are aware of Interception Capabilities 2000.

    It was a report prepared in 1999 for the Director General for Research of the European Parliament (Scientific and Technical Options Assessment programme office, no less)

    "On the development of surveillance technology and the risk of abuse of economic information."

    It leads one to wonder: exactly what "abuse of economic information" via international NSA/Five Eyes "COMINT" style surveillance had already occurred circa 1999 to justify an entire report to the EU parliament on the subject.

    Also if anyone remembers - I believe it was the William Binney leaks (see I dont remember either, its all so hard to keep up with) circa 2002. He developed NSA software met the legal requirements for respecting citizen privacy and included functionality to mask "content" and "selectors" until the required court orders were obtained. But in their wisdom the NSA went with another package called "Trailblazer", ostensibly lacking that privacy functionality, as well as severely over-budget and ultimately cripplingly dysfunctional in other ways.

    Well, it just so happens that Interception Capabilities 2000 includes screenshots of a NSA software called "Trailmapper".

    So not only does this make a great read for anyone trying to understand the evolution of surveillance technology. It also reveals enough about the state of the art of COMINT surveillance tech circa 2000 to give a nice basis for extrapolating the pace of technological development that led to the "NSA Catalog" era of surveillance, interception, and exfiltration tech.

  • Jun 23rd, 2015 @ 4:42am

    (untitled comment)

    If the TPP and TTIP pass, corporations will go from having de facto sovereignty to having de jure sovereignty.

    Until this happens, who, exactly has enjoyed the privileges of sovereignty besides states?

    The fact that corporations are pushing for de jure sovereignty through these treaties shows that the nearly unchecked privilege corporations enjoy thanks to corporate "personhood" just isn't enough for today's transnational corporations.

    From what little has been leaked, its not hard to see that the TPP and TTIP are clearly part of the same pattern of stifling competition we see when corporate lobbying results in legislation that stifles innovation and so-called "disruptive" technologies. In fact, they streamline the process by taking the decision making process out of the hands of politicians legislators and judges who are (theoretically) beholden to both their constituency and the laws of their jurisdiction and instead places it directly in the hands of those who answer only to the bottom line.

    But corporations differ from states in several very important ways. States are bound to a geographical location. Corporations are not, and regularly flex this mobility to get around taxation, environmental and safety regulations, and labor laws. Clearly the TPP is designed from the ground up to give sanction to this way of doing business - that is, outside the reach of any one jurisdictions laws.

    Also, based on the pattern of large-scale exploitation by the worlds corporations of smaller and more poorly governed countries, it is highly likely that there is more than one corporation in existence that possess greater resources at their disposal than some of the world's smaller and poorly governed countries.

    Because of these two points it should be clear that giving corporate powers de jure sovereignty through the TPP and TTIP will put them at significant advantage over land-locked state powers in many situations. Calling TPP and TTIP "treaties" or "partnerships" is really just nice a euphemistic whitewash for what will really happen under de jure corporate rule.

    If the TPP and TTIP pass, the corporations of the world and the moneyed powers of the world who control them will then have free reign to redraw to their liking the geopolitical borders of almost any part of the earth that suits them, and by use of any and every dirty trick from deception to coercion.

    TL;DR: Granting corporations de jure sovereign status will shortly empower them to wage war on every level, up to and including armed combat.

  • Nov 3rd, 2014 @ 12:30am

    wonder whats in there thats such a big deal???

    Must be some awfully innovative "interrogation techniques" they're trying to hide.

    Just a guess (really) but I'll bet this particular rabbit hole runs significantly deeper than just waterboarding or clamping electrodes to scrotums. MKDELTA and MKULTRA were just the beginning. Thats so vintage mid-century. Count on heavy use of drugs and sophisticated electronics for this torture session you won't be able to remember later.

  • Mar 2nd, 2014 @ 11:52am

    Re: Re: Re: (Scientology)

    Too bad a few agents got caught infiltrating the Federal government (the biggest security breach in US history) and went to jail in the 1970s. It's a wonder why the government didn't just shut down and dismantle the entire cult operations right then and there.

    Actually, it wasnt very long after the failed "Operation Snow White" that Hubbard went into hiding. After he was out of the game a new shell corporation sprung up with a new board of directors which then took ownership of all the old copyrights owned by Hubbard.

    And shortly after that the IRS suddenly recanted their years of persecution of Scientology and decided to grant the tax exempt status they had been seeking for decades.

    So its quite possible that some of those in the government who originally wanted to dismantle Scientology had a change of heart and decided it served a better purpose to keep it going, only under entirely new management.

  • Nov 28th, 2013 @ 10:35am

    Speaking of data collection...

    Anyone interested in NSA data collection should have a look at this piece published on Cryptome back in august, to see just how far and wide the 'net' is being cast, and who has access to its contents:


  • Nov 28th, 2013 @ 10:34am

    Speaking of data collection...

  • Nov 15th, 2013 @ 7:37pm

    speculation about possible future leaks

    Here are my speculations on an as yet purely hypothetical scenario of possible capabilities of NSA surveillance now or in the near future.

    What if, of all the cell towers that ostensibly provide cellular communications to us, only half of them actually did so? And for that half that does indeed do so, there are of course possibilities for surreptitious data channels, priority override for wealthy customers (when the towers circuit capacity is maxed out and they just have to make a call, so a lower priority call gets bumped), hidden services, networks, etc.

    But what about the other half? With the ubiquity of cell towers in our lives - and their capabilities - going unquestioned for two+ decades, there are some disquieting possibilities. One of the foremost speculations that comes to my mind would be a network of high precision SIGINT triangulation and intercept stations, capable of acting as a large scale phased array for precise monitoring of electronic devices of "persons of interest" within each cell triangle, as well as the possibility to deliver energetic responses of varying power and precision to those same targets. Could this also have psychological implications, especially though the principles of electrochemistry being used to remotely influence endocrine responses? Nearly all of us lack the specific spectral analysis and survey equipment to make either such evaluation.

    Also worthy of note, the fact in the field of classified State-Security and higher technical surveillance (aka SIGINT), such SIGINT monitoring posts are known to monitor "guard bands" for the appearance of signatures of remote TSCM (Technical Surveillance Counter Measures) equipment in the vicinity of the target. So that bug sweeps not only not going to work, the equipment used to do the sweep will be easily detected by those doing the technical surveillance in the first place.

    q.v. James Atkinson's Granite Island Group, Technical Surveillance Counter Measures: Threat Levels

  • Nov 2nd, 2013 @ 9:11am

    Free Mesh Networks.

    We've had the tech available to us for years now, if not decades.

    We've become so addicted to the idea of firewalls and isolated WLANs being a necessity that we've failed to see the alternative.

    Right now our internet is proprietarily routed. Proprietary not in that the protocol is secret, but rather proprietary in that the path between geographical neighbors almost always includes long trips through the infrastructure to centralized datacenters. In other words, an infrastructure-centric network.

    We need to turn this paradigm on its head and create a peer routed mesh. NOT as a primary "go to" destination in and of itself as the current internet is, but rather as a new kind of community interconnectivity.

    I recognize the obvious utility of firewalls. But we've lost some amazing potential technologies by not creating a network which was node-aware and even node-centric instead of infrastructure-centric.

    First and foremost, we lack the ability to put up an antenna and connect and network with those nearest us, for free, at whatever data rate such peer routed interconnect could achieve.

    Such a paradigm doesnt need to be solely for the purpose of routing or wireless transport. Imagine that youve just moved into a new high rise with ethernet wiring between all apartments. And imagine for simplicitys sake that each floor has its own switch and that all units share a single subnet.

    Under the current paradigm, plug in your computer and - security considerations aside - all you get is an internet connection. Whether you have a router or a software firewall, you are protected against exchanging any unwanted traffic with others on the subnet.

    But turn this around and think of the possibilities of exposing a few ports. Imagine plugging in your ethernet and suddenly your "network neighborhood" shows an icon for each other apartment, depending on their privacy settings. Each node could have its own profile page, message queue, instant messaging, file transfer, even the ability to coordinate VLAN's for gaming.

    The protocols to create such a user experience for the most part already exist in one form or another, though it might take some rethinking to decentralize functions such as email, profile pages, and instant messaging.

    We could even implement a type of community DNS, managed by committee, for such a context.

    The one stumbling block I see to all of this is the currently extensive use of private ipv4 subnets and NAT. For such a network architecture to truly be scalable beyond high rises to neighborhoods and cities, we'd need something like ipv6, and lots of MIMO devices. Hackerspaces or other volunteer organizations could handle neighborhood to neighborhood backhauls.

    I see a few projects edging their way in this direction. One is the Hyperboria Project. Another is the The Free Network Foundation..

    As far as I'm concerned the ultimate goal should be to enable a nationwide or even global networking paradigm where all someone has to do to join the network is to put up an antenna and begin networking with ones neighbors.

  • Oct 25th, 2013 @ 6:58pm

    (untitled comment)

    Whether or not this obvious "surveillance" of us all really "IS" "surveillance" or not, theres one thing I'd like to know.

    Many who have been following these developments for the past decade will remember an informative document called "Interception Capabilities 2000". If you haven't seen it, its well worth reading if for no other reason than to provide some perspective on the technological development of COMINT surveillance systems over the time span of the last 13 years or more. It even has some screenshots of an NSA surveillance software of that era called "Trailmapper".

    The subtitle of this report was somewhat longer:

    "Report to the Director General for Research of the European Parliament (Scientific and Technical Options Assessment programme office) on the development of surveillance technology and risk of abuse of economic information."

    So, I'm curious, for all those better versed in the recent earth history of state level surveillance tech than I: What abuses of economic information were known to have occurred? I've read through the document once or twice and while it highlights the potential risk of abuse of economic intelligence by 3rd parties connected with the intel communities, I don't recall any explicit references or footnotes indicating to what extent such had already at that time happened.

    And I can't help but assume it must have happened at the time of the reports writing in order to earn so prominent a place in the title and subject matter of a report to the EU parliament.

    After reading "The Secret History of Signals Intelligence" and a few introductory documents on cryptography I see no reason to believe our telecom network wasn't equipped with the capability for COMINT surveillance since day one. Because if it has been going on since the implementation of these public networks (if not being an a priori justification for their creation in the first place) then perhaps a better issue for activists to concern themselves with would be elucidating and illuminating not only what the criterion currently are for acting on the intel thus gathered and to what degree private commercial information might be shared with competing businesses, but how (or whether) these criterion have evolved (or devolved) since their devising.

    q.v. Interception Capabilities 2000

  • Oct 14th, 2013 @ 11:21am

    (untitled comment)

    Two words about Maryland and their legal system:

    Madalyn Murray.

  • Oct 14th, 2013 @ 11:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Any one know if he was on any medications

    On Oct 9th, 2013 @ 1102 am, The Groove Tiger wrote:

    > Yeah it's not like teenagers are normally chemically imbalanced or anything.

    The idea that chemical imbalance of the brain is in any way normal or even common is perpetuated most by those whose livelihood is tied either directly or indirectly to the prescription of psychotropic drugs.

    Many scholarly articles have come out in the past 2 years supporting the conclusion that our society is dangerously over medicated on such substances. Here's one summary from a Scientific American author, and you can find many more peer reviewed journal and lay articles to support this contention: ker/

  • Sep 30th, 2013 @ 8:33pm


    I've often wondered if any time a US citizen places a call to a cell phone whose area code corresponds to a different geographical "state" than the one the call originates in, is it then construed as interstate commerce, even if both phones reside in the same geographical state?

    My guess is, yes it is so construed, and it probably has been for some time.

  • Apr 16th, 2013 @ 1:00pm

    (untitled comment)

    Interesting. I just read this article over at truth-out: -fracking-industry

    Hopefully this ruling will be seen to apply to "photography" and journalistic investigation of factory farms as well.

  • Apr 16th, 2013 @ 11:13am

    (untitled comment)

    Time for the Pirate Party to find a large tract of land and enact a Pirate Country.

  • Apr 6th, 2013 @ 2:32am

    everyone needs drones

    everyone needs drones. I'm a big fan of John Robb's idea for a "Drone Net".

    That said, until the FAA can come up with some sort of identifying marking - or "identify friend or foe" for "friendly" or "law enforcement" drones, I would say it should be well within my rights as a citizen to disable and detain any drone that violates the airspace of my own private property.

    And you know the very first time some activist uses a drone to spy on a factory farm, the corporations will be clamoring for this right.

    I mean what would it really take to knock most non-military drones out of the sky. A few perimeter targetting RADARs or LIDARs and a couple remote aimable tennis ball or baseball training launchers?

  • Mar 27th, 2013 @ 9:19am

    an even handed response to the situation demands parity

    I think Linda Ellis should sue everyone who uses this poem in a eulogy without her express written permission beforehand. All the people commenting on her site about how they were touched by someones reading of The Dash at a funearl eulogy were clearly parties to the violation of Ms. Ellis right to exclusive control over public performances of this poem. Here is the link to the poem on her site, along with the aforementioned comment thread: The Dash Poem by Linda Ellis

    I think any concerned tech dirt commenters should chime in on that thread and let her know about her right, nay, her obligation to sue everyone who publicly recites her poem at a funeral without her express written permission and a payment of the $7500 royalty.

  • Mar 27th, 2013 @ 9:10am

    an even handed response to the situation demands parity (as crash test corpse)

    I think Linda Ellis should sue everyone who uses this poem in a eulogy without her express written permission beforehand. All the people commenting on her site about how they were touched by someones reading of The Dash at a funearl eulogy were clearly parties to the violation of Ms. Ellis right to exclusive control over public performances of this poem. Here is the link to the poem on her site, along with the aforementioned comment thread: The Dash Poem by Linda Ellis

    I think any concerned tech dirt commenters should chime in on that thread and let her know about her right, nay, her obligation to sue everyone who publicly recites her poem at a funeral without her express written permission and a payment of the $7500 royalty.