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Government Privacy

Info Leak Wars To Get Messier 350

Posted by Soulskill
from the somebody-schedule-e-woodstock dept.
jfruh writes "As we discussed this weekend, David Miranda, the partner of the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald, was detained while transporting encrypted data on the Snowden affair from Berlin; all his electronics were seized. Over at the Guardian offices, British police destroyed more of the newspaper's hard drives. Privacy blogger Dan Tynan sees where this one is going: reporters like Greenwald are going to stop even bothering to be circumspect with their revelations. Sorting through the contents of such infocaches to redact sensitive information just gives the government time to track you down. Eventually, the information will just be dumped online, warts and all, as soon as someone who wants the information public gets ahold of it."
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Info Leak Wars To Get Messier

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  • Idiots (Score:3, Informative)

    by scarboni888 (1122993) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @08:05PM (#44625481)

    'Nuff said.

    • Re:Idiots (Score:4, Interesting)

      by fustakrakich (1673220) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @08:14PM (#44625547) Journal

      No, why? They're desperate to know what's out there, so it's best to provoke a dump.. You know, adding a little laxative to the mix.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by BitZtream (692029)

        Lets see ... because they made it public they had the data? thats we fucking stupid on their part.

        Next we're going to hear something even stupider, like they ONLY had a copy on the laptop that was seized or some bullshit.

        You have to be a moron to talk about having the data BEFORE its in the hands of the public. That means the first time its mentioned is when its front page news fully published in a large paper. Front page could be the front page of a website too for that matter.

        You do not say 'we've got

      • Re:Idiots (Score:5, Insightful)

        by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @05:55AM (#44628361) Journal
        That might actually the goal here for governments and their secret services: provoke Greenwald et al to leak everything unredacted, then make a huge stink about how irresponsible these activists are for spilling state secrets, and hope that the whole thing blows over quickly. The activists on the other hand are best served by leaking the information piecemeal in a responsible matter, so that they keep the issue on the agenda, keep their cards under the table in case they can catch the government on a lie, and retain their credibility as activists rather than hacky thrill-seekers.

        Some /. poster suggested that detaining Miranda might even have been done in hopes of grabbing the encryption key to the Snowden files, so that the state can orchestrate an "irresponsible leak" themselves in case they can't provoke Greenwald or Snowden to do so. I'm ot sure what to believe here, but if this turns out to be true, it would not surprise me. Not one little bit.
      • Re:Idiots (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @07:58AM (#44628927) Homepage

        There was some speculation that by destroying the HDDs they were forcing the Guardian to communicate over the internet, which of course they have a full wiretap on. Bugging a newspaper's offices could cause an even bigger shitstorm, but this way they just carry on doing what they have been doing for years.

        One would hope that the Guardian journalists know how to use VPNs to communicate securely, but I suppose GHCQ figured it was worth a try.

        • by AJH16 (940784)

          You can still trace a VPN. They may be more worried about what servers copies are on. Each time they access a server, it's an opportunity to try to track down a copy and destroy it. If they are smart though, they'll use random Internet access locations and will make it difficult to actually track anything down.

    • I don't understand why they don't take legal action. They should be able to find a pro-bono lawyer; the Guardian is probably happy to assist with its legal department. There must be some laws left in the UK, or at least embarrass the higher courts by forcing them to make a official ruling. For example, if the law is ultimately ruled unconstitutional, it's evidence of incapacity of the parliament to make constitutional laws.

      • Re:Idiots (Score:4, Interesting)

        by BrokenHalo (565198) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @08:57PM (#44625871)

        I don't understand why they don't take legal action.

        Because unfortunately there's no law to say you can't behave like an asswipe. The detention was legal enough within the letter of the law (the less said about the spirit of it, the better), and he was released after the stipulated maximum amount of time. As for destruction of equipment, I'm sure there is some precedent making that legal.

        There's only one way to get around a government's thuggery and intimidation, and that is to blow them wide open.

        • Because unfortunately there's no law to say you can't behave like an asswipe.

          As you noted, just the opposite is true. The law explicitly *encourages* cops to act like asswipes -- as long as TERRORISM!

      • Re:Idiots (Score:5, Informative)

        by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @10:17PM (#44626383) Journal

        But they have taken legal action.

        Letter from Miranda's attorneys [theguardian.com]

        Even if you don't agree with Miranda's position, the letter is still worth reading, as it lays out the facts in meticulous detail.

      • by JayAEU (33022)

        The problem here is that there is no written constitution in the UK. Whatever the parliament passes as laws (along with interpretations by the courts et al) in fact is the constitution.

    • Re:Idiots (Score:5, Informative)

      by Mister Liberty (769145) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @10:03PM (#44626287)

      Sorry, We're British -- No Miranda Rights!

  • by memnock (466995)

    means that it will be harder to decipher what is going on. I realize all reporters have a bias, but they at least go through most of the material and point out the notable items. Now whomever is interested will need to go through the data dumps for the interesting stuff. That will make the "reporting" less effective.

    • by ATMAvatar (648864)
      Not necessarily. A new group of reporters/bloggers would probably pop up to mull through the raw data and produce easily-digestible material from it. Think something like Groklaw but for general news rather than legal cases.
      • by Kelson (129150) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @08:27PM (#44625675) Homepage Journal

        Considering this news... [groklaw.net]

      • Re:That (Score:5, Insightful)

        by icebike (68054) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @08:48PM (#44625795)

        But even Groklaw has shut down [groklaw.net] due to the mere fact it is impossible to communicate in private, and Groklaw never did a single illegal thing as far as I can tell.

        We think that making multiple copies cached around the world will keep the information public, but that is probably not correct. Look at the "practice run" the authorities are carrying out with Child Porn and a training exercise of how to combat access to any information, even when you don't control where that information is stored.

        Having Snowden's windfall on a million drives all decrypted and open for all to see wouldn't help, because anyone accessing it at any time from any computer on the net could and would be instantly tracked, and forced to have a computer bashing party in their own basement.

        We are on the tipping point of losing ALL freedoms. Anyone who sees this as anything but the beginning of end of freedom is an utter fool. The frog in the water and the heat is on.

        • by roc97007 (608802)

          > Having Snowden's windfall on a million drives all decrypted and open for all to see wouldn't help, because anyone accessing it at any time from any computer on the net could and would be instantly tracked, and forced to have a computer bashing party in their own basement.

          Perhaps the solution is to overwhelm the system. Label the download as, I dunno, The Avengers Director's Cut. Get it on as many computers as possible.

          • Re:That (Score:5, Interesting)

            by lightknight (213164) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @10:41PM (#44626513) Homepage

            The solution here will not be solved with technology. The parlor tricks were fun when the law was unclear; but now that the law is clearly compromised, real action, in the real world, must be taken.

            The people have been patient with the courts, with the law in general, as it has sorted through the general maze that is technology, and its effects on society. They need not be patient in areas where the law has already been clearly stated, for over two hundred years, in plain text, and in a copy that many people, even outside this country, own, and can easily reference. "Congress shall make no law..." and here we are, with secret courts, unable to face our accusers, dealing with gerrymandered accusations, and proof positive that the highest laws themselves have been violated. What more, one of our Founding Fathers did say, supposedly, "I prefer a hundred guilty men go free, than one innocent man be imprisoned."

            So, what happened to that America? I signed up for that America, not this one. Did someone mislead me? Was I lied to? Was there a bait and switch in the womb of my mother? Having been born in this country, with full citizenship, rights and privileges, why have I been denied, since my birth, these plainly written guarantees? I've been taxed, I know this much...who represents me? What are their names? How have they voted in the last six months, so that I know they are truly representing me, and my closely-held values, as well as this country's written values, in our national capital?

    • Re:That (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cpghost (719344) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @08:27PM (#44625665) Homepage

      That will make the "reporting" less effective.

      Au contraire, my dear Watson. Providing raw material is exactly the service news providers should be doing in the first place. Let other reporters and bloggers sift through this publicly available raw data to point out interesting stuff. There's no reason reporters should be entitled to exclusive access to raw material, and the rest of the world would have to accept what reporters say without a way of controlling that.

      That was exactly the problem with Wikileak's initial redacted release of Cablegate. It was only after they've released the whole data unredacted that real reporting could begin (and can still take place).

    • Or there will be more people going through the data because it is freely available, so fewer notable items get missed.

      It's never going to be a case of "the raw data is available online, no point writing an article about it now!"

  • Do it now! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @08:10PM (#44625505)

    Do it and do it now. The news doesn't need censorship.

    • by gmuslera (3436)
      More important than that. Delaying it will only mean even more damage done by the authorities, risk not being able to disclose it at all, or by the time it gets disclosed, nothing could be done. That they are so desperate trying to hide it (in both sides of the atlantic) means both that still they can stopped, and that whatever could be disclosed, is far worse than what they are doing now that is already known. If they were killers, delaying what could put them in jail only will give them more chances to ki
  • A-Gonna Fall...

  • by MrEricSir (398214) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @08:15PM (#44625557) Homepage

    Eventually, the information will just be dumped online, warts and all, as soon as someone who wants the information public gets ahold of it.

    And? If the government has nothing to hide, as they've repeatedly claimed, then what's the problem?

    • by Ziest (143204) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @08:27PM (#44625673) Homepage

      Yes, the government says they have nothing to hide BUT their actions scream "We have metric shit loads of things to hide". Things are going to get "interesting" in the next few years. It would be best if people started being more paranoid and start learning how to drop off the grid. We here in the west spent 40 years in a cold war with the Soviet Union. Some of the lessons that were learned on how to conduct activities while dealing with those guys, eg. Moscow Rules, would be instructive to those peoples and groups the government is and will be going after. Google the phrase, "Green in the new Red"

    • by icebike (68054)

      Eventually, the information will just be dumped online, warts and all, as soon as someone who wants the information public gets ahold of it.

      And? If the government has nothing to hide, as they've repeatedly claimed, then what's the problem?

      Ah, well played sir!

      For some frikin reason, I haven't had mod points in over two years.
      My Kingdom for a mod point!!

    • All the fuss about the data monitoring programs have revolved around what the government COULD or MAY do with the information. There has been corroborated evidence of the government actually misusing this information to inflict harm on someone. In a perfect world the government should have no secrets but we don't live in a perfect world. Not even close. But governments do have secrets that when exposed can cause a lot of unexpected problems. Leaking some PRISM documents may be OK but releasing details of fo

      • by WaffleMonster (969671) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @12:23AM (#44627075)

        some PRISM documents may be OK but releasing details of foreign intelligence operations is another matter.

        Remind me to shed a tear. NSA/CIA are controlled by politicians who are controlled by corporations. Most spying twoard "western" countries seems to be of the selfish self-serving variety.

        Snowden will probably go down as the person responsible for starting up the cold war again.

        In the same way a gun manufacturer is responsible for the misuse of the weapons they produce.

        Of course he is certainly not solely responsible but he has definitely contributed another issue into international relations that eventually will harm someone down the line.

        Secret capabilities once used naturally erode over time. They've had a heck of a run, certainly much longer than stealth Helos used in Bin Laden raid...They knew from day one eventually it would come out. If not Snowden it would be someone or thing else...this is how the game works. Its why the NSA does not waste their stash of 0-days on petty LEA crap.

        The real kicker in this entire mess is that the people pushing out the information will get the opposite of what they are seeking.

        The more people are aware of TLA willingness (to use) capabilities the more people can take technical measures to counter capabilities used against their interests. It also serves to increase legislative pressures to fix overreach which unecessarily harms trust in US government and US corporations.

        Instead of introducing transparency to government affairs the government will double down and put policies and procedures in place to get rid of any existing transparency.

        While they are expected to take measures to mitigate leaks it is also possible to see "legitimate" channels strengthened for example legislative action to provide more public data/oversight of covert activities.

    • by Error27 (100234)

      Some secrets are not yours to release.

      The NSA doesn't do stuff, it just sits there listening and writing down the information. It knows you have contacted an STD from your nieghbor's wife. It knows the password to your facebook account.

      It knows the secret things because it sent men in dark suits around to collect the SSL keys. Those men in dark suits answer to a secret court which meets in a dark place. And how are you going to say no to them?

      And now Snowden has the keys and the passwords and the secret

    • If the government has nothing to hide, as they've repeatedly claimed

      Have they? All I keep seeing is them repeating that they do have to hide things because otherwise the terrorists will win. Or something.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @08:17PM (#44625569)

    They must not understand the concept of a digital backup copy. You can take digital files of even gigantic sizes and copy them within minutes. They'd need to destroy every single copy at the same time before someone made another copy. No intimidation tactic is going to work at this point. There are copies around the world of what Snowden took with him.

    You take all of the files and dump them on ThePirateBay, Wikileaks, or wherever, and the government can't stop it. No amount of threats or harassment can prevent people from getting the information once it is out in the open. It would be like trying to return used paint to the bucket or gluing together a smashed window pane. A useless exercise.

    The government lost the information war. They are going to need to refocus on something else to win. Martial law. Election stealing. Murdering people. Extortion. At that point you're no longer looking at democracy and civilization but totalitarianism and military rule. We already lock up every marijuana user. Why not start locking up "terror violators" or some other nonsense 'crime'?

    This is the breaking point. Will people vote in politicians who will stop the wars (terror, drugs, guns, privacy)? Or are we going to get another Bush/Obama clone?

    • by icebike (68054)

      They must not understand the concept of a digital backup copy.

      Its merely a power game. The government thinks it has won this round, and the
      jackboots are chuckling over their brandy.

      Lets have their names, lets get them before cameras.

    • by Roogna (9643) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @10:08PM (#44626325)

      ... Or are we going to get another Bush/Obama clone?

      This, this right here, is a huge part of the problem. The office of President is NOT the only office that matters here. I've watched election after election where people fuss and fume over the president, but literally seem to pick at random for every Senator and Congressman. People have GOT to start paying attention to the people who are supposed to represent them, not just the President.

    • by anarkhos (209172)

      You're the moron!

      You think this is about digital copies? This is about intimidation.

      > Will people vote in politicians who will stop the wars (terror, drugs, guns, privacy)? Or are we going to get another Bush/Obama clone?

      The latter. Duh

  • by Virtucon (127420) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @08:25PM (#44625649)

    Geebus, the factual errors on these summaries are becoming eye-watering!

    The Guardian destroyed the laptop and the hard drive rather than turn them over. Shit, the title of the article has that in it:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/20/nsa-snowden-files-drives-destroyed-london [theguardian.com]

    I consider it a brave act of defiance on the part of the Guardian, good for them. It won't affect the fact that there's probably stashed copies of this stuff everywhere but the British Authorities wanted the actual hardware, so rather than give it to them they used an angle grinder themselves.

    • by NoKaOi (1415755)

      Geebus, the factual errors on these summaries are becoming eye-watering!

      The Guardian destroyed the laptop and the hard drive rather than turn them over. Shit, the title of the article has that in it:

      http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/20/nsa-snowden-files-drives-destroyed-london [theguardian.com]

      I consider it a brave act of defiance on the part of the Guardian, good for them. It won't affect the fact that there's probably stashed copies of this stuff everywhere but the British Authorities wanted the actual hardware, so rather than give it to them they used an angle grinder themselves.

      Does it matter who held the hammer over the drives? So the police held the hammer over the head of the guy who took the hammer to the drives. How's that really any different than if the government smashed the drives themselves? The error is more that of semantics than facts.

      The act of defiance would have been to make the data available to the public as soon as the police tried to strong arm them. Smashing the drives was an act of compliance, not defiance.

  • by DarkOx (621550) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @08:27PM (#44625669) Journal

    Put it out there, let some people get outed and killed, they are collaborator scum anyway. Sure it sounds harsh and it is, but until the security apparatus suffers some major political damage and loses some people they think of as friends they will never appreciate the harm all there secrets are doing. They have proven this over and over again.

    • by cpghost (719344) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @08:31PM (#44625709) Homepage
      The "security apparatus" isn't the real problem here. They're just the symptom, the manifestation of a deep fear that permeates societies... and may I add, irrational fears at that. Why irrational? Because the number of casualties from traffic accidents is of many orders of magnitude higher than those of terror attacks. But nobody seriously intends to forbid cars and people from driving. Yet when it comes to "terrism", regular people just kind of shut off their rational thinking and go into total obedience mode (to the almighty State). This tells more about human nature than we ever wanted to know, doesn't it?
      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by viperidaenz (2515578)

        Traffic fatalities also vastly outnumber murders. Better just let murderers off with a fine and some community service.

        • by roc97007 (608802)

          Traffic fatalities also vastly outnumber murders. Better just let murderers off with a fine and some community service.

          Hang on, I don't think anyone said give terrorists a free pass; rather, we still go after them, but we don't compromise the rights of the entire population in the process.

          So to continue the simile, you still prosecute murderers to the fullest extent of the law, but you don't make everyone take off their front doors in case the police needs to go in to their houses looking for a murderer.

    • by Type44Q (1233630)

      until the security apparatus suffers some major political damage and loses some people they think of as assets

      FTFY.

  • Siezed not destroyed (Score:4, Interesting)

    by accessbob (962147) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @08:29PM (#44625693)
    Miranda's property was seized not destroyed. And he wants it back.
    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @09:54PM (#44626219)

      Seized or destroyed makes little difference when your livelihood depends on it. You need replacement equipment now. Not in a week. Not in a month. Today. Or you can't make money. And with so many professions needing a computer... whether it's seized or destroyed you're still at the computer shop the next day buying a new one. And when you get your old one back... it's useless.

      The difference between the two is pretty minor. This is also why you, like me and many others, should keep multiple off-site backups, not in banks, not at a friend's house, but buried under a tree in a public park or something... so you can always quickly recover.

      Because whether it's the government that steals your shit, or a burglar... you're just as fucked.

  • this is the way of the electronic revolution, where once again (like in the village), whatever you do is "public", and you better behave the way you are "supposed" to. the only fun part of the story is watching the watchers spazz out as they look through their panopticon and discover a big eyeball blinking at them.

    • Re:no more secrets (Score:5, Insightful)

      by meta-monkey (321000) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @09:27PM (#44626071) Journal

      Ever read David Brin's "Earth?"

      That happens, but getting there is ugly.

      Imagine the vault of secrets burst open. Every dirty deal, every evil plot, every political murder and wicked deed done in the name of power and wealth.

      Now imagine the lengths to which the perpetrators of those deeds would go to hold on to the kind of wealth and power that rests atop the United States.

      If your blood didn't just freeze, you have no imagination.

      • Re:no more secrets (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Rinikusu (28164) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @11:35PM (#44626809)

        What scares me more is that even if all that came out into the open, there's a better than good chance that the American public will ignore it and just keep on keeping on. The actions of some of our leaders and (corporate and political) have become so brazen, that in any other country or maybe even any other era of American history, heads would be rolling (and in France, literally). Instead, the public has been giving the "meh" heard round the world. :(

        • by dcollins (135727)

          You know, in 2008 the American public did vote in an executive who promised "the most transparent administration in history", among other things (with pretty high participation and voting rates). Granted that person immediately stabbed us in the back, expanding and fiercely defending the surveillance apparatus, it's difficult to see how the public would expect any light of hope, any feasible strategy for improvement, from the political system at this point.

  • by twmcneil (942300) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @08:55PM (#44625857)
    Could be that's what they really want. Escalation, more power, more budget, more relevance at least in their own eyes. Why else would they target reporters and their partners?
  • by j1m+5n0w (749199) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @11:24PM (#44626735) Homepage Journal

    David Miranda, the partner of the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald, was detained while transporting encrypted data on the Snowden affair from Berlin;

    That's quite an allegation. Do we have any reason to believe that Miranda was transporting anything of the kind?

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