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Details On Worldwide Surveillance and Filtering 125

Posted by samzenpus
from the eyes-eyes-eveywhere dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Help Net Security is running an interview with Rafal Rohozinski, a founder and principal investigator of the OpenNet Initiative, which investigates, exposes and analyzes Internet filtering and surveillance practices all over the world. Rafal provides insight on the process of assessing the state of surveillance and filtering in a particular country and discusses differences related to these issues in several regions, touching especially the United States and Europe. In the US, censorship is more difficult to implement if for no other reason than the court systems offer greater protections for freedom of speech. However, in both places surveillance is on the rise particularly as law-enforcement agencies become more adept at working in the cyber domain."
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Details On Worldwide Surveillance and Filtering

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  • Just Remember. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @07:02PM (#29676131) Journal
    When we do it, it's to protect the children from porn and terrorism. When the godless commies do it, it's just plain evil.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NoYob (1630681)
      When we do it, it's to protect the children from porn and terrorism.

      You forgot pedophiles! The internet is filled with old creepy men who want to have sex with young girls and boys! I saw it on the news!

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @07:19PM (#29676223)

        Really? I thought those was US congressmen!

        Shennanigans in the cloakroom, Shennanigans in the bathroom, Shennanigans on the internet just seems logical!

        They want the cameras so they can spy on us naked! Those pervs!

      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @07:43PM (#29676349) Journal
        Well, that is actually true [vatican.va]...
        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @08:25PM (#29676543)
          Hopefully the next time they talk to Jesus, he tells them to stop using table-based layouts. It's just unchristian.
          • I am Jesus (Score:3, Insightful)

            and I command you to stop using table-based layouts!

            Hey, if you can't disprove it, it must be true!

            • It's no better to say "if you can't prove it, it must be false".
              • Given the approximate truth/falsity ratio of the set of all statements, "If you can't prove it, it must be false" is one hell of an improvement.

                Better still, of course, is some fully developed framework for provisional inference from limited information; but that takes actual effort.
                • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

                  by Anonymous Coward
                  If our ancestors stuck to "If you can't prove it, it must be false" they'd have died out a long time ago.

                  There were lots of "true enough" important beliefs that they could not possibly prove scientifically at that time.

                  So they've been using "adhoc frameworks for provisional inference from limited information" instead.

                  e.g. Winter comes every X moons, and is likely to come again, we better store up food for it.
                  • >>>Winter comes every X moons, and is likely to come again, we better store up food for

                    Actually that was a provable theory. Observe; record; notice a pattern; predict winter will arrive in a repeating cycle. That's primitive science.

              • It's actually much better to say that "if you can't prove it, it must be false". Better still, "if you can't prove it, then for all intents and purposes, it's false".

                Out of a universe (or beyond!) with unfathomable possibility, it's much, much easier and much, much more reliable to live by confirming truths than eliminating falsehoods.

                And besides, how exactly can we eliminate Jesus as a falsehood?

              • >>>It's no better to say "if you can't prove it, it must be false".

                Actually the way that scientific and logical inquiry works, the saying would be, "If you can't prove it, there's a possibility it might still be true, but until that happens it will be ignored." For example the theory that flies spontaneously generate from meat. There's a still a possibility that is true, but it's never been proven, so that theory has fallen to the wayside.

                Plus it's been replaced by a much better theory (flies lay

          • One of the fastest loading big-name websites I've seen in a while... Nothing wrong with tables as far as I'm concerned.

            Might be a little Web1.0, but at least they render correctly across all platforms.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @07:44PM (#29676355)
        The chans are filled with old creepy men who want to have sex with young girls and boys!
        Fixed... no charge.
        • The chans are filled with creepy men who want to have sex

          Your fixed, has been fixed.

        • by WeeBit (961530)
          "The chans are filled with old creepy men who want to have sex with young girls and boys!
          Fixed... no charge."

          The chans are filled with old creepy men, and women who want to have sex with underage girls and boys!

          And... I fixed yours.
      • Yeah but it is easy to spot them, because they all wear light colored jeans, a hooded sweatshirt, a baseball cap with the hood over it, sunglasses, and drive around in a white van!
        • by sumdumass (711423)

          phew.. For a minute there, I thought I was in trouble or something. Thank god my van is blue.

          I'm not a pedophile but I was thinking I just got labeled as one when I shovel the snow in the winter time or go hunting from my blind.

          • by tcopeland (32225)

            > Thank god my van is blue.

            I refer you to suspiciousvans.com [suspiciousvans.com]. As the first image says, "Free Candy!"

            • by sumdumass (711423)

              I had a good laugh at that site. Some of those vans make you wonder though.

              My van isn't pictured there so I guess I'm good. Mine looks a lot like this one [kingsusedkars.com] except it has a sliding door on the side and a TV antenna in the shape of a V on the top of the cab portion in front of the two front windows of the raised portion. Oh and my van is blue and gold, the guy who owned it before me was a West Virginia football fan and had it custom painted for that reason.

              • Not a creepy enough van. A creepy van is usually a single, solid color, with no decoration and few windows. Some rust is usually present. The color white is preferred, although other colors are possible. The back should contain random boxes of junk and something to tie a rope to, and room for at least one adult and one child.
              • by PitaBred (632671)
                Wait... you're my creepy uncle?
                • by sumdumass (711423)

                  Dave? Is that you? Hey, tell your mom I no longer live in that van down by the river.

                  • by PitaBred (632671)
                    Ok, that IS creepy. My name is Dave :P
                    • by sumdumass (711423)

                      I got your name from your home page. I didn't mean to creep you out. It was all in jest and humor.

                      If we can laugh with ourselves, laughing at others is much more enjoyable.

    • ...knowing that most slash dotters are consumed with rabid anti-us sentiments, and don't have the attention span to read more than a one-liner.

      The reality isn't what you imply.

      The US has taken a few steps backward since 9-11 - but it still has greater protections over free expression than any other country of which I am aware.

      • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @08:53PM (#29676647)
        It has those protections because people are so sensitive about those backward steps. Once people stop caring so much (which may have already happened with most people), those freedoms will be eroded.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        >> The US has taken a few steps backward since 9-11 - but it still has greater protections over free expression than any other country of which I am aware.

        You must not be aware of at least six other countries then, since the US ranked 7th over-all in the 2006 State of World Liberty Index (www.stateofworldliberty.org), and one should reasonably doubt the USA has moved up the scale since.

        • by Savior_on_a_Stick (971781) <robertfranz@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @09:47PM (#29676883)

          "The State of World Liberty Project was founded in 2006 by Nick Wilson, an activist and co-founder of the Libertarian Reform Caucus, an organization working to turn the United States Libertarian Party into a viable political party."

          Their compiled list is nonsensical at best, and relies primarily on nebulous ratings of "economic freedom" from well known right wing political groups - like the Heritage Foundation.

          Also note, that if you discount the economic figures, the top dozen or so countries are scored closely enough to lack any statistical significance.

          And the economic figures are all based on taxation - since libertarians have never met a tax they liked.

          Further - without being intimately familiar with the culture of each country, I could not honestly evaluate them - and it's glaringly obvious that no effort was made to do so on the site you are promoting.

          So in summary, you're flinging out weak, biased data to support a conclusion you've reached without making any reasonable effort to ascertain the actual facts.

          I still remain unaware of any specific country with greater overall freedom than the US.

          Nothing you've posted could rationally be expected to alter that fact.

          • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:14PM (#29677317) Homepage Journal

            Tell it to the Dixie Chicks.

            Of course, now you're going to say that it wasnt the *government* which tried to censor them, it was just people who didn't like what they had to say. Sigh. A nation that turns to censorship every time someone says something they don't like is destined to become a police state.

            • by icebike (68054)

              Since when were the Dixi Chicks censored?

              Last I saw they were still getting gigs in liberal haunts all over the world, and even on American TV.

              True, truck drivers might be tempted to launch a beer bottle over their heads should the mistakenly take a gig in some locales, but that hardly counts as censorship, just an opinion. More likely, the bar owner would cancel the gig for lack of an audience.

              We could of course expect everyone to continue to pay admission, and sit quietly and listen politely to people th

              • by QuantumG (50515) *

                Short memories. There was a time when the Dixie Chicks were barred from radio, television, etc. They made their own movie instead, and stores wouldn't stock it. So now that you've had a refresher course of recent history, maybe you'd like to think about what I said. If it was a government that was doing this you'd say it must be communist China. No way would the US Government ban someone from the airwaves for having a political opinion. And you'd be right, it wasn't a government action. However, the

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by icebike (68054)

                  Ok, I see your point. We don't run out and buy the records of people we don't like, we don't go to their movies so that's censorship?

                  You sir are a raving loon!

                  • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                    by QuantumG (50515) *

                    Wow.. either you're incredibly naive or you're just a trolling idiot. The point is not that people who disagreed with the Dixie Chicks refused to buy their records.. that's exactly what George W. Bush said and why everyone with a clue hung their head in shame. The point is, people who *agreed* with the Dixie Chicks were unable to buy their records or their movies or hear them on the radio or see them on tv, because the people who disagreed had arranged for them to be banned. Surely you remember all this?

                    • What you're basically saying is that the Dixie Chicks were censored by the *secondary* level of government which we commonly call "the corporations". Because the corporations hold so much power, they have the ability to make a music group disappear from American life, simply by refusing to stock their CDs.

                      We now see a similar thing happening with Glenn Beck, where the corporations are trying to yank him off the air. They hold enough power that they are virtually another level of government, and I would

                • by Neoprofin (871029)
                  If U2s next album was an ode to pederasty and the rise of the Fourth Riech I doubt that Best Buy would stock it, but there's absolutely nothing stoping them or groups that profess cold blooded murder, drug abuse, overflowing the government, or just about anything else for that matter from producing and distributing their thoughts. Unpopularity is not censorship, and an artists right to say whatever they want does not trump the right of anyone else to say exactly what they think with their wallets.
          • >>>And the economic figures are all based on taxation - since libertarians have never met a tax they liked.

            Not true. They like "use taxes" where you pay for a service when you use it. They cite the road/gasoline toll and the stamp tax as near-ideal forms of taxation. You use the service - you pay. You don't use the service - you don't pay. They consider that fair and reasonable.

            And while some libertarians are almost anarchist in their views, they are still saner than those on the extrem

      • I take it you haven't visited Canada or Sweden in this millennium?

        • by Savior_on_a_Stick (971781) <robertfranz@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @09:17PM (#29676749)

          Both Canada and Sweden have significant restrictions on what can be said in public.
          They do this is the guise of protecting against "hate speech."

          • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @09:29PM (#29676805)

            As opposed to the complete joke that is FOIA in the US, and the Patriot Act? The various porn regulations in the US, capriciously decided on a state-by-state basis? The DMCA? Software patents? Disney and the insanely extendend copyright laws? The very strange regulations in the US about publication of encryption technologies? "Hate speech" is an understandable concern both for crime prevention, and for free speech reasons. But in my opinion as an outsider, both Canada and Sweden are noticeably better about it.

            For US citizens, the McCarthy era is still in living memory, for some of us. So are the 1960's and their repression of anti-Vietnam speech. I like to think we've progressed, and the Internet is very useful for getting around the current round of restrictions. But make no mistake, they still happen, sometimes in new guises.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by sumdumass (711423)

              Wow, I can't believe you got modded up for that snibbling rant. All you did was criticize some programs way out of context as if you didn't understand them and bark about something that happened, was ended, and everyone agrees should never happen again.

              The 60's are over, we have all moved on and no one things they should return. McCarthyism is long dead and will not resurrect in out lifetime and it's pointless to drag out FOIA, DMCA, Software patents and so on. The DMCA and Software patents do not limit spe

              • by slashqwerty (1099091) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:50PM (#29677459)

                McCarthyism is long dead and will not resurrect in out lifetime

                Perhaps not in the form of protecting us from communists but it will undoubtedly come back in one form or another. With complacency like yours it will come back even quicker.

                The DMCA and Software patents do not limit speech

                The DMCA makes it illegal to publish an entirely open source DVD player. It effectively grants a limitless patent to the DVD CCA which controls who can make a DVD player and under what conditions. Software patents limit my ability to publish ideas I developed on my own having never heard of an obvious submarine patent that will bar me from publishing my software.

                Hell, a lot of the protesters provoked the other side just to get headlines when they broke and retaliated.

                What makes you so sure the protesters did that? COINTELPRO was an FBI program in which agents infiltrated protest groups and started riots to make the group look bad, and to give the authorities an excuse to interfere with the group's free-speech rights.

                • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

                  by sumdumass (711423)

                  Perhaps not in the form of protecting us from communists but it will undoubtedly come back in one form or another. With complacency like yours it will come back even quicker.

                  Not at all. There has been ample opportunity for it since then and it didn't happen. Stop being afraid of the dark. Keep your eyes open so you do not trip over something but quit being afraid.

                  The DMCA makes it illegal to publish an entirely open source DVD player. It effectively grants a limitless patent to the DVD CCA which control

              • by Omestes (471991)

                McCarthyism is long dead and will not resurrect in out lifetime

                Watch the news, and count the times that someone dismisses a purely political idea as "socialism", or how often people argue that our duly elected officials are "socialists". It might not be policy, but the sentiment is still there.

                • by sumdumass (711423)

                  Disagreement in ideology is not McCarthyism. I suggest you spend a little more time understanding what McCarthyism actually is/was. I'll give you a hint, it's government sponsored or pressured and not the free expression of ideologues by idiots. The fact that people are elected while being called socialist or that ideas from elected officials can be called socialist is living proof that McCarthyism is long dead.

                  • Go watch Fox News. The attitudes that senator McCarthy embodied and fostered are alive and well, and frighteningly accepted by some listeners. And dear god, if you actually read the Patriot Act, you see the fostering of exactly the same sort of star chamber and secret political monitoring "to stop terrorism" that McCarthy rode on "to stop Communism".

                    I'm not saying it's gotten as bad as it was in McCarthy's hey-day, but given the AT&T fiber-optic spying and similar behavior, and the clear use of domestic

                    • by sumdumass (711423)

                      Go watch Fox News. The attitudes that senator McCarthy embodied and fostered are alive and well, and frighteningly accepted by some listeners. And dear god, if you actually read the Patriot Act, you see the fostering of exactly the same sort of star chamber and secret political monitoring "to stop terrorism" that McCarthy rode on "to stop Communism".

                      Nonsense. The big difference is that Terrorism isn't legal and no one with a sound mind thinks it should be legal. The programs on fox news or any other news

                    • Ahh, yes. It's to stop the terrorists and block crimes. That's why we violate the NSA charter (by doing domestic spying), the Constitution (by monitoring without court order or any evidence of wrong-doing). And the infiltration was to "stop crimes". R-i-i-g-h-t. And declaring a "free-speech zone" is one thing, secret monitoring and infiltration is another. That's straight out of the 1960's Vietnam era playbook, and McCarthy eara as well.

                      And it's done "to stop crime". Sure, that's the excuse given. But pleas

                    • by sumdumass (711423)

                      Ahh, yes. It's to stop the terrorists and block crimes. That's why we violate the NSA charter (by doing domestic spying), the Constitution (by monitoring without court order or any evidence of wrong-doing).

                      You need to slow down a bit and stop dragging ignorance into your conversation. First, a NSA charter has little to no legal meaning. I'm suspecting that your talking about the NSA's TSP which was within it's charter, just not the technical language of the FISA laws. However, FISA is questionable on the

                    • Oh, dear. Ignoring their own charter and the problems that creates, I leave to people who understand the idea of keeping the NSA out of domestic security for excellent reasons.

                      And your listing of "70 people prosecuted"? Wrong. That's 70 people arrested. do you see a prosecution there? Me, neither. And your "8 more here"? Please actually go and _read_ the articles you cite. And look for signs of an actual prosecution, rather than merely an arrest. The "misdemeanors" you cite also show little sign of prosecut

                  • by Omestes (471991)

                    Disagreement in ideology is not McCarthyism.

                    I never stated it is. I merely mean that the same sentiment is still very alive and well, and because of this there is a not insignificant pool of people who would LOVE to have that certain senator from Wisconsin back. Our Government hasn't, yet, starting blocking dissonance, but this doesn't mean that the potential and the will aren't out there still.

                    Though one could argue, that if you replaced "International Communist Conspiracy" with "International Terrorist

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by dkleinsc (563838)

                McCarthyism is long dead and will not resurrect in out lifetime

                Absolutely correct. Communism was a somewhat defined enemy that more-or-less went away after the USSR collapsed. On the other hand, "terrorism" is a much more handy nebulous enemy that can be used to ruin people's careers, freeze their assets, prevent them from traveling, and so forth, without the pesky problem of having the enemy ever disappear. Even better, we can just round up people (including US citizens) who have backgrounds and names that sound Muslim with the choice of imprisoning and possibly tortu

                • by sumdumass (711423)

                  Nonsense. Communism is an ideology where terrorism is a crime that's illegal in almost all countries if not all. And no, they cannot just round people up and make them disappear. It happened unjustly to all of what, ten people who got released because they didn't just disappear.

                  there is a difference between communism which is a political ideology and illegal methods used to push any ideology or agenda. I'm sorry that your not thinking straight enough to see that. I could go on about some other things you ch

                  • by dkleinsc (563838)

                    Acts of terrorism are illegal. That's not what I'm complaining about. What I'm complaining about is the use of an outside enemy to justify mistreatment of citizens. And terrorism is a much better outside enemy than communism for that purpose, because it can never be completely defeated. Even if Al Qaida, Hamas, Hezbollah, etc were completely removed from existence, those who wanted to repress people here in the US would simply say that the terrorists had gone into hiding and occasionally uncover a "sleeper

                    • by sumdumass (711423)

                      Acts of terrorism are illegal. That's not what I'm complaining about. What I'm complaining about is the use of an outside enemy to justify mistreatment of citizens. And terrorism is a much better outside enemy than communism for that purpose, because it can never be completely defeated. Even if Al Qaida, Hamas, Hezbollah, etc were completely removed from existence, those who wanted to repress people here in the US would simply say that the terrorists had gone into hiding and occasionally uncover a "sleeper

            • by Omestes (471991)

              the McCarthy era is still in living memory

              Wait... isn't that making a come-back? It seems a large percentage of people in America today (at least the vocal ones) would like McCarthy to be raised from the grave as a big bad Obama/50+% of the population smashing zombie. Hence tons of people bashing "socialism" as an evil thing, and not just a mere political view different than their own, not to say liberalism (more "socialism"), secularism (the first amendment is socialism), and the typo-become-slander "dem

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by jhol13 (1087781)

            Swedish army (FRA) is snooping practically every packet going out of Finland.

            BTW, Slahsdot does not have ssl connection ...

      • You should be careful to distinguish between "rabid anti-us sentiments" and "expressions of displeasure when the US implementation fails to match up to the US ideal". There are a few vague, surface level, similarities; but the difference counts.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        It's interesting that you perceive the parent post as an attack on your country, not on a general mentality.

      • by Teun (17872) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @04:24AM (#29678579) Homepage
        The US might not be the worst of surveillance nations compared to the amount and depth of surveillance in some other places.

        But I find the US none the less more scary for the ways they back up this surveillance.

        As a single example, can you name a single western style democratic country where the government can legally set up and maintain something like Gitmo?

        And the lack of recourse, for example no or hardly no limits on the retention of data or (well communicated) ways to be informed about what agencies store about you and how to appeal.

        Or the way pieces of sensitive legislation are sneaked through by tacking it to big non related bills.

        Don't get me wrong, I really like many aspects of the US but when it comes to perceived security risks it's still exhibiting 'Old West' policies of 'shoot first, talk later'.

  • Oblig XKCD (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @07:04PM (#29676141)

    Oblig XKCD [xkcd.com]

    Now and then, I announce "I know you're listening" to empty rooms.

    If I'm wrong, no one knows. And If I'm right, maybe I just freaked the hell out of some secret organization.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by QuantumG (50515) *

      http://xkcd.com/538/ [xkcd.com]

      I think that's more appropriate.

      • by Nadaka (224565)

        That wrench probably cost at least $50

        • Who knows, maybe if times get really tough the CIA will have to start shopping at Harbor Freight...
        • by PitaBred (632671)
          Harbor Freight [harborfreight.com] is awesome for tools like that. When you just need something big and heavy and you don't care about it breaking, you can get them for half the price or less ;)
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by lysergic.acid (845423)

        That's a funny strip, but it doesn't really apply to mass surveillance/filtering. It's actually a lot cheaper to build a (multi-) million-dollar supercomputer to filter/analyze day to day internet traffic than to actually send goons out with $5 wrenches to beat the information out of hundreds of millions of people (on a daily basis).

        • by dkf (304284)

          It's actually a lot cheaper to build a (multi-) million-dollar supercomputer to filter/analyze day to day internet traffic than to actually send goons out with $5 wrenches to beat the information out of hundreds of millions of people (on a daily basis).

          They mostly do traffic analysis, watching not what you're saying but where you're saying it and who you're saying it to, and such things are much harder to defeat (TOR is immediately suspicious, and apparently fairly easy to watch in practice). They only send the goons out when they really want to decrypt a message, and by that point they're probably doing a lot of physical surveillance too.

        • It's actually a lot cheaper to build a (multi-) million-dollar supercomputer to filter/analyze day to day internet traffic than to actually send goons out with $5 wrenches to beat the information out of hundreds of millions of people (on a daily basis).

          False dichotomy, if I ever saw one. Typically your average slashdotter thinking in black and white.

          Why not have the cost savings of the multi-million-dollar supercomputer, and enjoy going out and whacking people with $5 wrenches?

        • by dkleinsc (563838)

          Yeah, but sending out the goons to hit people is more fun.

    • Or this one: http://xkcd.com/565/ [xkcd.com]

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @07:23PM (#29676241)
    The sad thing is, we can thwart these efforts, and we have been able to thwart these efforts for a long time. The majority of people, however, do not care as much about thwarting efforts at surveillance as they do about convenience. It is too inconvenient to carry a thumb drive with some software and crypto keys around*; the extra steps of inserting that device into a computer and running the software on it is more than most people are willing to deal with.

    * Yes I know that this is not as secure as keeping your crypto keys on your own hardware, but it goes a hell of a lot further than any current methods do, and would require a lot of resources on the part of the government to break across the board (e.g. a targeted attack would work, but if they are going to the effort of targeting an individual they are going to break the crypto anyway, perhaps using the drugs+wrench method).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      > The majority of people, however, do not care as much about thwarting efforts at surveillance as they do about convenience

      That, or they just don't know or understand the issues. To most people, computers are magic.

      But yeah, I agree with your basic point. We already have the ability to make this a non-issue, and we're not doing it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by NoYob (1630681)
        I think as far as the surveillance thing goes it's a non-issue to many people: something that paranoid people worry about or "if you do nothing wrong you have nothing to worry about mentality"

        Even then, convenience, as the parent mentioned, is a huge factor. How many of you set up user accounts on family member's machines, telling them "Do not surf the net or do anything else with the admin account EXCEPT install software YOU choose or other administrative functions!" only to have them use the admin account

      • by Sloppy (14984) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @09:16PM (#29676739) Homepage Journal

        To most people, computers are magic.

        And that's why unauthenticated encryption should be the default, for everything (email, web, etc). That's something people can do without understanding anything, and frustrates surveillance immensely, even if it doesn't rigorously prevent it. And then, if they care and can learn, they can securely exchange keys to get authenticated encryption.

        Sure, the masses would be MitM vulnerable, but right now they're even worse off, and can be effortlessly sniffed.

        Shame on the FF3 team.

        • Which is why OTR is so cool. It gives a discrete warning about being unauthenticated, and it integrates seamlessly with IM. Unfortunately, even OTR is too inconvenient for most people I have met, and they fail to understand why there is any benefit to using something that is not as "pretty" as the default AIM client (thank you AOL for screwing that one up for us).
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by QuantumG (50515) *

          Sure, the masses would be MitM vulnerable, but right now they're even worse off, and can be effortlessly sniffed.

          Wow, I must be incredibly uninformed about what is possible with unauthenticated encryption.. please, tell us how to do unauthenticated encryption that requires a MitM attack rather than just passive sniffing to defeat.

          • by huge (52607)
            Diffie-Hellman [wikipedia.org] key exchange is considered to be secure against eavesdropping but vulnerable to MitM.
          • by maxume (22995)

            Could you throw out two or three sentences on how to passively sniff an unauthenticated https channel, I can't seem to wrap my head around how to do it?

          • by Sloppy (14984)

            please, tell us how to do unauthenticated encryption that requires a MitM attack rather than just passive sniffing to defeat

            Person A: My public key is keyid 0xdeadbeef.

            Person B: My public key is keyid 0xf00ff00f.

            Person A encrypts the session key for what intends to say to person B, with keyid 0xf00ff00f. Person B encrypts the session key for what he intends to say to Person A, with keyid 0xdeadbeef.

            Your assignment: intercept the conversation. Yes, you can do it with a MitM and give both these people your

  • Moving (Score:3, Insightful)

    by interkin3tic (1469267) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @08:12PM (#29676497)

    Argh! This country and it's lack of privacy! Big government! I've had it with america! Land of the free indeed! I'm moving to europe!

    How do the United States compare to Europe in regards to surveillance and filtering?

    Certainly there seems to be more momentum these days towards regulation in Europe. This is prompted by concerns over child welfare and exploitation, and also the perceived danger from radical militant groups. Europe also tends to be more of a surveillance society, particularly the UK. In the US, censorship is more difficult to implement if for no other reason than the court systems offer greater protections for freedom of speech.

    Wait... we're doing something right? Yes! WOO! AMERICA NUMBER ONE! LAND OF THE FREE!

    [Making fun of myself here, I've often read articles on the sad state of privacy in the US and thought "I quit, totally moving at the next available opportunity." If I'm being honest, I would have to describe myself as a fairweather fan of the US.]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @08:23PM (#29676539)

    In the US, censorship is more difficult to implement if for no other reason than the court systems offer greater protections for freedom of speech.

    In the US, there are big telecommunication carriers who illegally spy on American citizens, and they go scot-free. The law is a weak line of defense when the government colludes against it. When the "leaders" have set their minds on something, it's going to happen. Laws will be changed, circumvented and ignored. There must be a strong factual defense line. In the case of communication that's cryptography, privacy enhancing routing protocols, redundancy and networks in the hands of the people.

  • by AHuxley (892839) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @08:26PM (#29676553) Homepage Journal
    Its amazing how many state an federal police task forces just view web 2.0 sites.
    Sit in chat rooms, forums and social networking sites trying to connect nerds and geeks in pics to real life.
    The interesting part is the push for IP to home address without warrant in Canada and no court needed sneak and peek 'try before you raid' bureaucratic options.
    My view is the deep fear of random flash mobs on any given topic. The more cops can just watch, the more they can build connections into protest groups.
    The problem is they are still playing from the Stasi handbook.
    If you have so many people willing to face jail, Iraq fresh "cops", baton charges, gassing, tasering, FIT units, Long Range Acoustic Device (L-RAD), no fly lists for life and military fusion state and federal databases, its too late ;)
    If they want control back, do a cold war USA or West Germany.
    Sedate the peasants with low wage jobs, cheap cars, short cheap holidays, cheap housing, free speech for all and the dream of a better life.
    If they are chasing beads and mirrors all day, no need for tanks in the streets.
    • Yes. Let us sedate the peasants by giving them what they want! We have discovered what's important to them and now we are giving it to them! Now we are in control, so long as we cater to their needs! How terribly EVIL of me! Mwhahahahaha!

    • by westlake (615356) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @09:50PM (#29676899)

      Sit in chat rooms, forums and social networking sites trying to connect nerds and geeks in pics to real life.

      There are times when I wonder if the chat room nerd has any anchorage in real life.

      That is the danger: Caught in the web [theage.com.au] [Oct 1]

      My view is the deep fear of random flash mobs on any given topic. The more cops can just watch, the more they can build connections into protest groups.

      The geek as revolutionary is ripe for satire.

      I'm not convinced he could draw a crowd if he were handing out free beer in Munich during the Oktoberfest. Free Software Foundation - Windows 7 Sins [youtube.com]

      Sedate the peasants with low wage jobs, cheap cars, short cheap holidays, cheap housing, free speech for all and the dream of a better life. If they are chasing beads and mirrors all day, no need for tanks in the streets.

      It's really quite easy to spot the losers in the American political game: Embittered, cynical, and with bottomless contempt for the masses.

      • by andhar (194607)

        The 'Windows 7 Sins' stunt was pretty retarded, but the guy (I admit I don't know who he is, and what he's known for) in the interview afterwards is really articulate and makes a very good argument against proprietary software. No beard, no stink of geek, just a smart guy with a cause.

        Maybe someone out there can edit out the giant garbage can?

  • by herojig (1625143) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @10:30PM (#29677097) Homepage
    Now here is a /. that I could wrap my arms around: pointers to research, tools, and good news. The country I live in comes up no evidence of filtering whatsoever. The Psiphon open source so far only has a windows installer/instructions as far as I can tell, but I guess as a project this may grow into something we can all use for protection...hard to see it right now however...more testing needed.
  • by FurtiveGlancer (1274746) <AdHocTechGuy@NOSpAm.aol.com> on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @10:37PM (#29677137) Journal
    I judiciously avoid terms that will make my internet experience suspect for the key word scanners. Words like Keyhole, Echelon, Einstein might cause notice of your inputs so just be care{click, dial tone}
  • by Tastecicles (1153671) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:23PM (#29677345)

    ...where men are women, women are men, and little girls are FBI agents running honeypots...

  • How do you know? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by GWRedDragon (1340961)
    How exactly does software expose government surveillance on an intermediate network you have no control over? How does anything?

    The only way you know if someone is spying on your data is if someone goes public with it, and it seems pretty stupid to assume that those exposed cases are in any way representative of the actual state of spying.
  • South America (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cenc (1310167) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @07:00AM (#29679373) Homepage

    I don't see any discussion of South America. There is almost no serious Internet censorship in any of the countries. Most have higher political and economic priorities over trying to be thought police of their citizens. I suspect that most of the monitoring going on is really related to true national security issues, not simply trying to control and manipulate the populations.

    About a week ago Chile tried to introduce a law in to congress that would require ISPs to monitor and cancel accounts of users for P2P content. It was shot down with only 1 vote in favor in congress. Try that in the U.S. or European countries? Even if it was not constitutional, you would still see some right-wing "save the children" type try vote for it in mass and not even bother reading it.

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