NSA and GCHQ siphoning huge quantities of data from undersea fiber optic cables ( TechSpot 2013-07-18 )
The plot thickens as the NSAs data collection net widens. NSA leaks reveal that governments are tapping into the Internets backbone to siphon off huge quantities of data. That is, government programs in the US and UK are able to gain access to tremendous amounts of data by accessing networks of undersea fiber optic cable, according to a report from The Atlantic.
British surveillance programs titled Mastering the Internet and Global Telecoms Exploitation (that sounds legitimate, right?), akin to the USs PRISM program, operate a subsidiary program called Tempora. Tempora soaks up huge amounts of data, upwards of 21 million gigabytes per day, and then retains the data for a month.
Tempora then shares this data with the NSA and British GCHQ, which reportedly commits 550 analysts to reviewing the contents. The data collected is cause for more concern to privacy advocates than the recent reports of collection of phone call metadata, because tapping into these cables allows governments to make complete copies of all the data, not just the metadata.
They pretty much decided to monitor everything, everywhere, all the time. I'm having a hard time thinking of something they might NOT be spying on now. Note that the USA is using the UK as yet another vendor, just like all the tech companies. This is an important point because they get to say that they themselves are not spying, so-called plausible deniability, letting others get their hands dirty and then forcing them to shut up about it.
Yahoo! Resisted PRISM, And Can Now Prove It ( Tom's Hardware 2013-07-16 )
Okay, we'll give them a merit badge for trying at least. However, since Yahoo uses Bing as its actual search engine who do they think they are fooling? Also, if you read the article though you will see just how bad this whole thing is with that secret star-chamber FISA court rubber stamping the fed spooks and dismissing all challenges with the back of their hand.
Microsoft defends against data sharing allegations ( NeoWin 2013-07-16 )
Lots of weasel words in there, leaving a hole big enough to drive a fleet of government trucks through.
Microsoft and others asks for the US government's permission to reveal data requests ( NeoWin 2013-07-18 )
Microsoft, Others Requesting More NSA Transparency ( Tom's Hardware 2013-07-18 )
Tech giants come together to demand NSA surveillance transparency ( TechSpot 2013-07-19 )
In a letter published yesterday, the more than 63 technology companies, trade groups and non-profit organizations called upon the U.S government to allow internet, telephone and other communications based service providers to disseminate requests they receive for user data in greater detail. More specifically the group is requesting permission to regularly share details regarding:
- The number of government requests for information about their users
- The number of individuals, accounts, or devices for which information was requested
- The number of requests that sought communications content, basic subscriber information, and/or other information.
Actually, that request for transparency is more like translucency or opaqueness. That request language is merely asking for some minor rollbacks but nothing that would satisfy me or anyone else I know.
IMHO there is just one important thing to take away from all these stories, and it could be construed as good news ... these companies are actually getting some real heat now, specifically Microsoft who were exposed in the leaks as Big Brother's FIRST partner in crime ( perhaps we should call them Baby Brother ). So anyway, these guys are feeling pressure now, and I find this intriguing, very VERY intriguing. How exactly would Microsoft and the others receive angry feedback? How does anyone penetrate that force field? They are completely oblivious and tone-deaf to two years of criticism about the Windows 8 fiasco, so the pressure cannot logically be coming from the retail sector. Developer opinions carry no special weight, nor would they particularly care about end-user privacy, so I doubt it's them. Big business perhaps? Nah, I doubt any big American company gives a crap about privacy because if they are based here in the USA they are already subject to other forms of domestic spying, court orders, etc. So who else is there? I think there is only one thing left, and that is foreign interests ( business, government, utilities, retailers, end-users ), people who actually have something to lose by signing up with Microsoft. This is only speculation but I would guess that Office and Azure and even Windows contracts are suddenly in jeopardy. What form this might be taking I don't know, but there is no doubt that something has suddenly lit a fire under them.
U.S. Commerce Department unnecessarily destroyed $170K worth of IT gear to hunt down malware ( TechSpot 2013-07-09 )
Forgot about this one from a few weeks ago. This should drive fellow USA citizens mad. From both a financial wast point of view, and from a tech standpoint ...
In 2012, the department shelled out more than $2.7 million (more than half of their annual IT budget) trying to track down what appeared to be a major malware infestation. Acting on the guidance of the CIO of the Economic Development Administration (EDA), the department subsequently destroyed more than $170,000 worth of IT components including desktops, printers, TVs, cameras, computer mice and keyboards.
What! Malware infected printers, cameras, mice, keyboards! These must be MetroTards. Windows 8 was clearly made for them.