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Feds Allegedly Demanding User Passwords From Services 339

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the trust-no-one dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Following the /. story on the Feds demanding SSL keys, now comes news that the feds are demanding user passwords, and in some cases, the encryption algorithm and salt used. From the article: 'A second person who has worked at a large Silicon Valley company confirmed that it received legal requests from the federal government for stored passwords. Companies "really heavily scrutinize" these requests, the person said. "There's a lot of 'over my dead body.'" ... Some of the government orders demand not only a user's password but also the encryption algorithm and the so-called salt, according to a person familiar with the requests. ... Other orders demand the secret question codes often associated with user accounts.' I'm next expecting to see the regulation or law demanding that all users use plain text for all web transactions, to catch terrorists and for the children."
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Feds Allegedly Demanding User Passwords From Services

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  • Sigh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aerokii (1001189) on Friday July 26, 2013 @11:04AM (#44391655)
    Coming up next, our newest feature: Things I wish surprised me, even a little.
  • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Friday July 26, 2013 @11:08AM (#44391689)

    Can the government force me to make a public statement, attesting that it's true?

    Because it seems to me that the government using my private keys to sign a packet that I didn't create is substantially similar.

  • the war is over (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 26, 2013 @11:09AM (#44391701)

    and stupid has won.

  • Re:Sigh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 26, 2013 @11:14AM (#44391733)

    Aye, as if it wasn't already easy enough for them to frame someone.

  • by SJHillman (1966756) on Friday July 26, 2013 @11:15AM (#44391741)

    Just start emailing copies of those documents to people on a regular basis and see how long before the government calls you a terrorist and arrests you for inciting revolt.

  • Re:Name and Shame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Saethan (2725367) on Friday July 26, 2013 @11:16AM (#44391755)
    TFA says the companies resisted - the shame here belongs on the US Government
  • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Friday July 26, 2013 @11:17AM (#44391761)

    No doubt this is because terrorists/spies have changed tactics

    Or simply because the Feds can get away with it. KGB wannabees are like any other power hungry bastards - give them an inch and they'll take a mile. They want more because they want more. There may be some excuses they use to justify it, but the real reason is simply that they want more.

  • by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Friday July 26, 2013 @11:23AM (#44391839) Journal

    Names. Give us some names. I'd like to know who are these bureaucrats who ask for passwords? Then, I'd like to see them sweat over the possibility they might be censured, might lose their jobs.

    Let them experience how thrilling it is to have their dark glasses taken away, feel what it's like not to be faceless anymore. Then, maybe they'd appreciate privacy a little more.

  • by blackraven14250 (902843) on Friday July 26, 2013 @11:26AM (#44391879)
    Considering that the vast majority of people, up until now, would've never known for sure that you buckled to government pressure, you're thinking in a far more optimistic plane than reality. In reality, you, as a small business owner, would buckle, nobody using your service would know about it unless you announced it outright, and it would affect your business in absolutely no way at all.
  • by aeranvar (2589619) on Friday July 26, 2013 @11:30AM (#44391913)
    The terrorists/spies have definitely changed tactics. They're putting on government uniforms now.
  • Re:Sigh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 26, 2013 @11:37AM (#44391989)

    Don't worry, there will be another false flag 9/11-style event. People will give up more freedom and privacy. You can be guaranteed of that.

  • by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedy.tpno-co@org> on Friday July 26, 2013 @11:40AM (#44392023) Homepage

    I find myself wondering how much of this ( master keys, passwods, ect.. ) we'd be discussing NOW had it not be for Snowden having the balls ( if not the brains ) to leak what he's leaked.

    Note to future leakers: Make sure you work out your living situation BEFORE pissing off one of the largest governments in the world.

  • by hedwards (940851) on Friday July 26, 2013 @11:40AM (#44392027)

    Considering that the Tea Party hasn't been declared as such and that there has yet to be even one sedition trial for those numb nuts in congress that signed that fealty pledge to Grover Norquist, I think that it's rather unlikely that they'll charge you for sending people those documents.

  • by dougmc (70836) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Friday July 26, 2013 @11:41AM (#44392039) Homepage

    What if you're an online start-up, with little legal know-how? Are you really going to resist demands from such a high level?

    If you have little legal know-how and are confronted with an important legal issue that could have serious ramifications if you screw it up, you consult with a lawyer.

    If you are smart, this is always the case, be you a startup, a large company or an individual.

    A small company probably won't have a lawyer on payroll, but certainly, they can still pick up the phone and call one. It'll cost some money, yes, but even small businesses need lawyers for lots of things, so the concept should not be foreign to them.

    Now, if you're saying that "legal know-how" means knowing when an issue is important and could have serious ramifications, well, that doesn't require much skill. If you receive a demand from the government of any sort and it's not something you're familiar with, a quick consultation with a lawyer would be prudent. Especially if it just plain sounds wrong.

    Now, your lawyer may very well advise you to just give them what they want, but still, asking him was the right thing to do.

    A bigger problem is the gag orders that tend to come with these orders, where you can't even tell somebody that you received them. You can generally still consult with a lawyer, but even so, they really do fly in the face of the rights we used to think we have.

  • Re:the war is over (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hedwards (940851) on Friday July 26, 2013 @11:41AM (#44392047)

    Yeah, because clearly McCain and Romney would have been less quick to take our rights away from us.

    Ultimately, as long as there are voters that support this sort of bullshit it's going to continue. Obama was less likely to engage in this than any of the GOP options were.

  • by hedwards (940851) on Friday July 26, 2013 @11:44AM (#44392081)

    Assuming you knew. In practice the worst of this is done under gag order so that nobody knows which services are engaged in this sort of illegal spying. And thanks to the numb nuts that W had installed on Supreme Court, it's even harder to get the constitution enforced than it used to be. Damned activist judges.

  • Re:Sigh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 26, 2013 @11:52AM (#44392157)

    It's not just 9/11, the fear of foreigners and the entire "it's us vs the world" attitude has become so ingrained into the American psyche that it'll take several generations to de-program them. Even now those Americans who are raising questions are only protesting against spying on American citizens, as if American citizens are more special than the rest of us humans.

    As long as the American people, and not just the government, continue their xenophobia they will just keep shooting themselves in the foot. None of us in the rest of the world want to have anything against USA, but the Americans keep doing everything they possible can to make the world hate their guts.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 26, 2013 @11:56AM (#44392185)

    Liberal groups were targeted by the IRS as well. Try to keep up.

  • by Nyder (754090) on Friday July 26, 2013 @12:05PM (#44392307) Journal

    I have supported the use of records and even following connections from a known terrorist, but this is insane. Pure insanity.
    No doubt this is because terrorists/spies have changed tactics, but still this is the wrong way to take solve this.

    Terrorist haven't changed tactics. Look at the Boston Bombers, the NSA had been spying on us for years at that point.

    Did they know about it? NO.
    Did they stop it? NO.

    So them spying on everyone is a waste of time if they can't catch any terrorist with it. In fact, they are being the terrorist against their own population by this and other actions they have been doing.

  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Friday July 26, 2013 @12:14PM (#44392381)

    In my high school American History class, we mostly learned how white people oppressed some people or other people at various times,

    Please explain to me how that is incorrect or even not one of the top 5 most important characteristics of the development of the nation.

  • Re:Sigh. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Aboroth (1841308) on Friday July 26, 2013 @12:14PM (#44392385)

    None of us in the rest of the world want to have anything against USA, but the Americans keep doing everything they possible can to make the world hate their guts.

    It would help if "the rest of the world", including you, stopped saying phrases about how they hate our guts, instead of just criticizing the government. It is unnecessarily antagonistic language. A good portion of us over here don't like what is going on. How about being supportive instead of antagonistic?

  • Re:the war is over (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 0123456 (636235) on Friday July 26, 2013 @12:17PM (#44392417)

    Obama was less likely to engage in this than any of the GOP options were.

    The difference is, when Republicans do something like this, the media print stories about how it's bad and should be stopped and Democrats would never do such a thing. When Obama does something like this, the media print stories about how wonderful he is and nothing he does could ever be bad.

  • by Eclectic Engineer (830396) on Friday July 26, 2013 @12:18PM (#44392429)

    I would agree in principle. Though if the government is able to obtain said keys from someone other than yourself, they weren't really "private", were they?

  • by grumpy_old_grandpa (2634187) on Friday July 26, 2013 @12:23PM (#44392469)
    GP is right: Somewhere in the code, the password has to be kept before it is passed on to the hashing function. His point was that the system maintainer might be forced by a spy agency to alter the code so that the password variable is not temporary, but instead logged in persistent storage.

    But even disregarding NSA, the link between the authentication system and the UI is usually the weakest. That's where we see attacks like key-loggers, phising scams, attack on secure memory, etc. Again, it proves his point: The password will be known by some part of the system, even if it's temporary, before it is passed on for hashing or validation.
  • by sjames (1099) on Friday July 26, 2013 @12:28PM (#44392537) Homepage

    Minor correction, we STILL have those rights, they're just being trampled.

  • Re:Sigh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Friday July 26, 2013 @12:29PM (#44392555) Journal

    It won't matter friend as the PTB has learned they have another "mother may I" magic word that works even better than terrorist, and that is pedo. If you think the whole "peed on a bush and became a sex offender" bit is bad you should look at the CP laws and how vaguely they have been written. According to a friend that works in the state crime lab you could draw a stick figure and stick a label under it saying "nekkid 10 year old" and be looking at several years in prison and otherwise sane people will happily let the feds have ANY power they ask for just by invoking the "for the children" meme, hell we've seen otherwise rational people on this very site willing to ignore any and all violations of privacy if it was "to stop teh pedos".

    So I'm convinced we'll see more of our privacy wiped off the map and what is more the crowds will cheer when it happens because the feds will say the magic word. Hell we have at least 2 guys in prison right now for thoughtcrime by using the magic word, the guy who supposedly wrote the "pro pedo" book and a guy who was writing any disturbing thoughts he had in a diary by order of his therapist of all people, and in BOTH cases the ONLY thing they did was what I am doing right now and put their thoughts on a page, that's it, that's ALL they did.

    Now if that doesn't scare the hell out of you while illustrating just how powerful a word they have on their side? Well I don't know what will, I know it scares the hell out of me.

  • Re:Sigh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by brxndxn (461473) on Friday July 26, 2013 @12:30PM (#44392563)

    The governments' reaction to 9/11 - using it as an excuse for more corruption, more surveillance, more wars, and more curtailing of the Constitution - should be enough to question the motivations behind the event. Calling a person crazy for questioning the 'official story' which itself says it fails to explain multiple events like Building 7 falling is calling a person crazy for attempting rational thought.

    It would be crazy not to have questions about that whole sequence of events.

  • Re:Sigh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by techsimian (2555762) on Friday July 26, 2013 @12:31PM (#44392581)

    Supportive of what exactly?

    Being from the US you probably don't see the xenophobia for what it is. I moved to the US in the late 70's and the common response to anything not American was that's communist. Now it's probably more along the lines of that's socialist, but the vibe is the same. I see it as fueled partly by fear (of the unknown) and ignorance with a dash of idiotic national pride.

    Consider taking a stand against that sort of stupidity and acknowledging your detractors might have a point. It isn't a sign of weakness to admit fault.

  • Re:Sigh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by s.petry (762400) on Friday July 26, 2013 @12:35PM (#44392631)

    Funny that you tell other people they need medication, yet you ignore facts. I realize that it hurts peoples heads to think that their Government is corrupted, but facts show that to be absolutely true. The USA has become everything we used to despise in Stalin, Mao, and Hitler. At least weekly I read reports of SS agents, er. some federal agency, raiding an innocent business or house detaining innocent people for hours. I read at least weekly about something corrupt, where nobody in any Govt. agency is charged/investigated/blamed. These are not little things, these are huge things like conspiring to kill protesters in the USA (whether it was done or not does not take away the fact that it was planned).

    I'm okay with you being a good little slave and happily watching the puppet show. I'm not okay with people being the slaves that tries to turn in people that can see outside the cave. (I also realize that Socrates's work is hard to read so you may be lost on those references).

  • by deanklear (2529024) on Friday July 26, 2013 @12:43PM (#44392739)

    How about being supportive instead of antagonistic?

    Be honest with yourself: have you spent more time watching television or being politically active?

    This is also a criticism I aim at myself, but the first step is to be honest about the situation. Americans are politically lazy, and we have the government we deserve. I don't think there has been a massive nationwide protest here since the 70s, with the possible exception of the anti-war protests before the invasion of Iraq.

    The people who run the show aren't going to give it up because we're complaining about them on the internet. It's not difficult to convince yourself to hang on to millions of dollars and unchecked power when there is no real penalty from the populace.

    Sir, there are two passions which have a powerful influence in the affairs of men. These are ambition and avarice -- the love of power and the love of money. Separately, each of these has great force in prompting men to action; but, when united in view of the same object, they have, in many minds, the most violent effects. Place before the eyes of such men a post of honor, that shall, at the same time, be a place of profit, and they will move heaven and earth to obtain it. The vast number of such places it is that renders the British government so tempestuous. The struggles for [profit] are the true source of all those factions which are perpetually dividing the nation, distracting its councils, hurrying it sometimes into fruitless and mischievous wars, and often compelling a submission to dishonorable terms of peace.
        And of what kind are the men that will strive for this profitable preeminence, through all the bustle of cabal, the heat of contention, the infinite mutual abuse of parties, tearing to pieces the best of characters? It will not be the wise and moderate, the lovers of peace and good order, the men fittest for the trust. It will be the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions and indefatigable activity in their selfish pursuits. These will thrust themselves into your government and be your rulers. And these, too, will be mistaken in the expected happiness of their situation, for their vanquished competitors, of the same spirit, and from the same motives, will perpetually be endeavoring to distress their administration, thwart their measures, and render them odious to the people.

    -- Benjamin Franklin, 1787

  • Re:Sigh. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mi (197448) <slashdot-2014@virtual-estates.net> on Friday July 26, 2013 @01:07PM (#44392987) Homepage

    The USA has become everything we used to despise in Stalin, Mao, and Hitler

    Mmm... Everything? Aren't you forgetting the two particularly despicable attributes of those regimes:

    1. millions of dead
    2. economic misery for the survivors

    And, no, being unable to afford a new TV or a car, or even having to supplement income with food stamps does not compare to the actual economic misery that accompanied those Socialist regimes.

    Surveillance sucks, but we are far from Stalin, Mao, and Hitler... Very, very far.

  • Re:Sigh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SuperTechnoNerd (964528) on Friday July 26, 2013 @01:32PM (#44393263)
    9/11 was nothing more that excuse to do the level of spying which they have been wanting to do (and have done) forever. 9/11 gives them a rational reason that the people will understand so they can do thees things blatantly and unfettered.
  • Re:Sigh. (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 26, 2013 @01:43PM (#44393365)

    I'm sympathetic to a lot of less exotic conspiracies, but WTC7 collapsed because it was on fire for hours. There's nothing suspicious about it.

  • Re:Sigh. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 26, 2013 @01:59PM (#44393521)

    The governments' reaction to 9/11 - using it as an excuse for more corruption, more surveillance, more wars, and more curtailing of the Constitution - should be enough to question the motivations behind the event

    Well sure, you should always ask questions. The problem is that people like you don't like the answers you're getting, so you ignore all of the facts and evidence and come up with some crack-pot theory. The "motivations behind the event" aren't any different than the motivations behind the previous attacks on the US by the same group, including the previous attack on the WTC.

    Calling a person crazy for questioning the 'official story'

    But you're not just questioning the 'official' story. You're questioning every story except the one you believe in, and that's the one which needs questioned more than any of the others.

    which itself says it fails to explain multiple events like Building 7 falling

    1. Citation needed.
    2. That's only one event.

  • Re:the war is over (Score:5, Insightful)

    by s.petry (762400) on Friday July 26, 2013 @02:07PM (#44393595)

    You can not blame it on stupid, when people are intentionally kept ignorant. For a minimum of 10 years, you are subjected to a program that creates servitude and removes people's ability to think. When people start to wake up, it's a rather alarming process. Not just because of the cognitive dissonance, but because there are numerous sources of fiction to frighten them back into a stupor.

    If you pick 5 people and start trying to teach them to think, you will be lucky to have made progress within 6 months. That however should be the goal of anyone that can see clearly. As people learn to think and can see for themselves it is imperative for you to ask them to do the same thing (go get 5 students).

    An enlightened society is something the people in power fear. They hated Socrates because he advocated an intellectual society, and countless others that came after him calling for the same thing. If you want to rankle the hairs of the established, start teaching people to think. Ad hominem and mockery are what they expect and adore.

  • Re:Sigh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Burz (138833) on Friday July 26, 2013 @05:34PM (#44395485) Journal

    1,960 architects and engineers disagree with you

    Yes, and hundreds of scientists have petitioned for getting rid of the evolution theory. You know what's the logical conclusion? You can find a small percentage of loonies anywhere. The mere impossibility of counting them with your fingers doesn't change the fact that they are simply perplexed.

    Then, like the debate over evolution, you should ask yourself who is making self-referential arguments. Creationists ritually call evolutionists bad names, too.

    The official take on WTC7 boils down to this: 'Despite what engineers are taught, a small fire could bring down that building because that's what we say happened.' Your side not only asserts this logical fallacy, but also resorts to ad hominem with great frequency.

    I don't even deny that some of the people who reject the official account of 9-11 are loonies; some people will latch onto virtually any conspiracy theory. But its becoming apparent that there are a great deal more lunatics in the official church of 9-11 who prefer baying for blood and trashing enlightenment principles. So at the very least, its pot meet kettle.

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