The U.S. Government is Spreading Malware

003thThe U.S. Government is Spreading Malware

Some years ago, I predicted the government was reading all of our e-mails and looking at our financial records. I thought I was on the edge of the curve, understanding what others did not. I was wrong. I only anticipated the edge of the iceberg. Those crazy bureaucrats sucked up more information than I could have imagined in my wildest dreams.

And now our pseudo-protectors are planting malware in our computers to evade our protections.

They are deliberately sabotaging our property. Others can piggyback in on the holes they are making in our anti-virus programs. They are making all of us vulnerable to hacking and theft.

Isn’t this a crime? If not, shouldn’t it be?

James Pilant

Mark Zuckerberg: US government surveillance is a threat to the internet | Technology |

The billionaire CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, criticised US government surveillance in a Facebook post on Thursday, saying it was a “threat” to the internet – and revealed he had called Barack Obama personally to air his concerns.

Zuckerberg made his remarks a day after the The Intercept website reported that the NSA has been using automated systems to spread malware over the internet, sometimes using “fake” Facebook servers.

“The US government should be the champion for the internet, not a threat,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post on Thursday. “They need to be much more transparent about what they’re doing, or otherwise people will believe the worst.”

In the post, Zuckerberg said he had called Obama to express his “frustration over the damage the government is creating for all of our future” and said he was confused by the government’s actions.

“The internet works because most people and companies do the same. We work together to create this secure environment and make our shared space even better for the world,” he wrote.

He went on: “This is why I’ve been so confused and frustrated by the repeated reports of the behavior of the US government. When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we’re protecting you against criminals, not our own government.”

via Mark Zuckerberg: US government surveillance is a threat to the internet | Technology |

From around the web.

From the web site, Setanta Solutions.

German computer security and antivirus detection company G Data Security has alleged that the Russian goverment has created, or has contributed to the creation of the newly detected malware known as “Uroburos”.

G Data bases its allegations on the Russian governement in the complexity of the malware and the presence of Cyrillic words in the malware sample. File names, encryption keys, and the behaviour of Uroburos are also being used to support G Data’s claim.

Another key piece of “evidence” according to G Data blogger “MN”, is that Uroburos functions by looking for a piece of malware that has been tied to Russia (although not its government conclusively).

Merkel Effect!!

CapitolBuilding_000Merkel Effect!!

The Merkel effect is when you are an elected official and the fact that intelligence agencies have probed into every aspect of the citizens’ lives doesn’t so much as raise a frown but when that same politician discovers she has been surveiled, the outrage rises to the boiling point.

Well. our pseudo-defenders and NSA enablers are having a hissy fit today.

Make no mistake. This is a form of justice. What kind of fool thinks that empowering the intelligence agencies to do every kind of evil and stupidity wouldn’t wind up back on their doorstep? Spying on me doesn’t really get an intelligence agency much. But spy on a member of Congress and get something on them; well that’s a different deal. Think of J. Edgar Hoover and the days of really excellent FBI budgets. It is fun to have something on an occasional Congressman and even better if you get put them all under the microscope.

Let’s see if our outraged Congress will actually do anything. After all, the NSA, etc. have probably already got a lot on them.

James Pilant

Senators Okay With Spying On Citizens, But Outraged It Happened To Congress

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a staunch defender of government surveillance of ordinary citizens, took to the Senate floor Tuesday with the stunning accusation that the Central Intelligence Agency may have violated federal law to spy on Congress.

Feinstein, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, railed against the CIA for compromising the legislative branch’s oversight role — a theme echoed by many of her Senate colleagues throughout the day. The outrage was palpable among lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, and some suggested CIA Director John Brennan should resign if the allegations are true. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who has stuck up for intelligence agencies in the past, declared a potential war.

“This is Richard Nixon stuff,” Graham told reporters. “This is dangerous to the democracy. Heads should roll, people should go to jail if it’s true. If it is, the legislative branch should declare war on the CIA.”

When former contractor Edward Snowden revealed last year that the National Security Agency was secretly collecting phone and electronic records from millions of ordinary Americans, the response in Congress was far more muted. Top senators insisted the surveillance was critical to U.S. counterterrorism activities.

“It’s called protecting America,” Feinstein said then. Graham said he was glad Verizon was turning over customer records to the government to ensure that his phone was not linked to any terrorist activity.

It was not until reports that the NSA had spied on foreign leaders and allies, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, that Feinstein offered criticism of the agency’s surveillance.

Snowden said Tuesday it was hypocritical for some lawmakers to finally express anger when the privacy of elected officials was breached.

“It’s clear the CIA was trying to play ‘keep away’ with documents relevant to an investigation by their overseers in Congress, and that’s a serious constitutional concern,” Snowden said in a statement to NBC News. “But it’s equally if not more concerning that we’re seeing another ‘Merkel Effect,’ where an elected official does not care at all that the rights of millions of ordinary citizens are violated by our spies, but suddenly it’s a scandal when a politician finds out the same thing happens to them.”

via Senators Okay With Spying On Citizens, But Outraged It Happened To Congress.

From around the web.

From the web site, Unredacted.

“What I can say unequivocally is that if you are a U.S. person, the NSA cannot listen to your telephone calls and the NSA cannot target your e-mails.” President Obama, June 16, 2013, on the Charlie Rose Show

During the same June 16, 2013, interview with Charlie Rose, President Obama said the NSA is not allowed to target U.S. citizens, though Greg Miller reported in his June 30, 2013, Washington Post article, “Misinformation on Classified NSA Programs Includes Statements by Senior U.S. Officials,” that “the NSA has significant latitude to collect and keep the contents of e-mails and other communications of U.S. citizens that are swept up as part of the agency’s court-approved monitoring of a target overseas.” This information is stored, for up to five years, and can be accessed as soon as the FBI gets a National Security Letter, for which there are still no requirements to seek approval or judicial review when sending.

Ethics Bob and Zero Dark Thirty

Ethics Bob and Zero Dark Thirty

Ethics Bob
Ethics Bob

This is Ethics Bob’s take on the recent movie, Zero Dark Thirty. As with all of his work, it merits reading.

James Pilant

Zero Dark Thirty: Did torture lead us to Osama bin Laden? « Ethics Bob

For many years before Zero Dark Thirty, arguments raged about whether torture was acceptable, and the arguments turned largely on whether torture—euphemized into enhanced interrogation because torture is illegal—was effective. Arguing for torture was the CIA; opposing it was most of the FBI. FBI agents reported that detainees that were treated decently, even kindly, were founts of valuable intelligence until CIA interrogators took over and turned to torture, at which point the detainees clammed up.

Bigelow’s and Boal’s sources were largely CIA, so it figures that they were told that torture played an important role. Had their sources been FBI the movie’s depiction of the interrogations would have different.

So did torture lead us to UBL? I’m inclined to think that it was of little help, but I can’t really know. See the movie and keep an open mind.

Zero Dark Thirty: Did torture lead us to Osama bin Laden? « Ethics Bob

Here is the trailer –

What’s my take? Torture is against American and International law. If an American uses torture, he should be prosecuted for the crime or handed over to international authorities for punishment.

James Pilant

From around the web –

From the web site, Daily Speculations:

Is it worth a come-see? Assuredly. By the fanatic long lines even late at night, this is the pic to see. And probably 90% went out satisfied. But is it /all that/? Not so sure. Bigelow earns her stripes/, *The Hurt Locker*/ won Best Pic of 2008, and merited it. Moreover, probably few directors could have landed this baby as well as she. But somehow I think the hype is selling this sizzle more than the steak.

From the web site, People’s Blog for the Constitution:

Just to reiterate the consensus: torture did not help national security. The chairs of the Senate intelligence and armed services committees, in addition to a recent Republican presidential nominee and torture survivor, and the acting head of the CIA, have all publicly announced that the film’s depiction of torture exaggerates its usefulness.

In fact, as they have all confirmed, the information that led to the death of Osama bin Laden was gained through traditional intelligence methods, not the unconstitutional “enhanced interrogation” human rights abuses illegally concocted by former Vice President Dick Cheney, Ninth Circuit Judge Jay Bybee, and others.

Not only was torture unhelpful as an interrogation method, it was actively counterproductive: it fueled the recruitment of new terrorists by our nation’s enemies, and undermined our nation’s moral standing in the world, degrading the “smart power” that was responsible for our triumph over the Soviet bloc and the relative peace in the decades following WWII.

And, finally, from the web site, Indies Unchained:

In my opinion, Zero Dark Thirty does not glorify torture. The film is very objective. It shows us what happened and it’s up to us to determine how we feel about it. I think a lot of people are used to being told what to think and mistake the clinical representation of these events as condoning torture. However, showing and endorsing are not the same thing. A lot of people are misinterpreting what’s happening in the film, have already made up their mind before they’ve seen the film, or worse, actively lie about what happens in the film to better support their own arguments. After all, how can we confront them when we haven’t seen the film? Many have claimed this is the sequence of events in the film: Chastain’s character and the CIA physically and mentally torture prisoners, get information, find Bin Laden. This is not true. Chastain and the CIA torture a prisoner in the beginning of the film, but he gives them no information. Over and over he refuses to tell them anything. They get the information from him by tricking him.

You can argue the film says they were able to trick him because of all torture he was subjected to, but in a scene where Chastain watches countless interrogation tapes that involve and don’t involve torture the film goes out of it’s way to show that she found the same information from many people who were not tortured at all. Every prisoner that was tortured in the tapes said nothing. Plus, the film shows multiple terrorists attacks that happen while the CIA is still using torture techniques. Wouldn’t a pro-torture film ignore those events to perpetuate their pro-torture agenda? In the context of the whole film it seems pretty obvious Zero Dark Thirty is not pro-torture. Furthermore, the idea that is glorifies torture is asinine. These sequences are disturbing and sickening. There’s nothing enjoyable about watching these scenes, and if you understand cinematic language it’s glaringly obvious we’re meant emphasize with the people being tortured. The CIA agents are the monsters.


Enhanced by Zemanta