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Government Privacy The Internet

Online, You're Being Watched At All Times; Act Accordingly. 299

An anonymous reader writes "Kaspersky Lab's Internet security expert Costin Raiu discusses internet surveillance claims that you should assume that you're being watched at all times. The article reports that Raiu conducts his online activities under the assumption that his movements are being monitored by government hackers. Raiu: 'I operate under the principle that my computer is owned by at least three governments' ... 'this is not meant as a scare tactic, but a rather as a statement of fact that should now be the default setting for everyone.'"
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Online, You're Being Watched At All Times; Act Accordingly.

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  • Dear NSA (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 09, 2014 @07:58PM (#46206257)

    Nothing happened today to me personally, just for your records.

    Signed someone not important at all.

  • Fuck Beta (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 09, 2014 @08:00PM (#46206269)

    The Slashdot content/comment quality is dropping fast.

    Also, Fuck Beta.

  • by DoninIN ( 115418 ) <> on Sunday February 09, 2014 @08:12PM (#46206369) Homepage
    We started off with at least the half hearted assumption that this was the case, then the web and the net went mainstream. Society assumed our paranoia was irrational and silly. It might have been for a bit, but it clearly wasn't in the long run. One of the assumptions we made in the interim and that many folks still make is that, "There aren't enough watchers to watch every one of us" or "They might have access to my e-mail, text and data but they don't have enough people to read each and every one of those things" because we the people society at large, just don't get technology, even those of us who do, Watson super-computing and the Google search algorithm can be applied to you and I our behavior associations and the possibility that we will do something bad in the future... BUT brothers and sisters nevermind that, think for a moment of the possibility that those in charge, or some of them, with access to the spying they might use this access to do something bad, like leak secret e-mails from a popular Governor, that show he closed a bridge, or those who work for him did, as some sort of act of dickery, and so we catch him lying about it, and thus remove the threat of him becoming president... Really... Don't tell me why he is in fact a dick.. he probably is, I could care less, the idea is those with access to the NSA cloud can decide who is in and who is out in terms of eligibility for admission to the public sphere.
  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Sunday February 09, 2014 @08:43PM (#46206537)

    "They set out to build something even the government wouldn't want to watch! Mission accomplished."

    I think this is accomplished already. They could not possibly want to "watch" everybody. You'd have more watchers than watched.

    I think OP erred in saying everyone is "watched". That's simply not so. Their data may be collected, and it may be looked at later, but that's not QUITE the same thing as "being watched".

    Having said that: I still despise the current situation and it does need to change.

  • by HiThere ( 15173 ) <{ten.knilhtrae} {ta} {nsxihselrahc}> on Sunday February 09, 2014 @10:02PM (#46206937)

    How are they supposed to let the folk who run the site know how upset they are? At least it was under the first post, which is pretty much always a throw-away.

    P.S.: I may not be as upset as he is, but I'm not fan of Beta, either. I *am* currently testing it, and it's not really terrible, but that's all I can say in its favor.

    P.P.S.: This is just to test how it reacts to unicode:
    OK, it looks good before I post it, but it didn't show up in the now I'll post. (It was largely Greek letters.)

  • by dyingtolive ( 1393037 ) <brad.arnett@n o t f> on Sunday February 09, 2014 @10:09PM (#46206973)
    You and your 5 other counterparts are going to get lonely without us though. We worry for you.

    And fuck beta.
  • by Vitriol+Angst ( 458300 ) on Sunday February 09, 2014 @11:37PM (#46207435)

    How do you know WHY they have the data, WHAT their intentions are, or WHAT their capabilities are?

    Grabbing everything is absolutely useless to going after an enemy. Real bad guys aren't going to be linking to FaceBook when they search for bomb materials, and they aren't going to use their own credit cards.

    But it's great if you want to create profiles on people and control movements. If you want to build consensus and monitor people who are not convinced by propaganda -- absolutely awesome.

  • Re:Dear NSA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tftp ( 111690 ) on Sunday February 09, 2014 @11:53PM (#46207513) Homepage

    If you're unashamed of your past (harmless) behaviour it's harder for people to "use it against you".

    This is not how it works. Not even close.

    Political operatives dig something up - often something entirely harmless, something that neither you nor any of normal people would even consider to be shameful - and they blow it up until it crushes you. Take, for example, "Dean Scream," or Swiftboating of Kerry, among many other. The defining characteristic of such attacks is that they are, generally, dishonest, and influence the uneducated audience, forcing the candidate to take defensive posture - which never helps. The attack itself may be an outright lie, or a lie constructed upon some foundation of a real event, or a real event that is completely misrepresented.

    Besides, a person who has nothing to be ashamed of in his past is either a saint or a narcissist. I am not aware of *anyone* who'd manage to live from cradle to grave without making an unfortunate mistake somewhere.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 10, 2014 @12:51AM (#46207705)

    So yet another basic feature... that should have been put in BEFORE you start redirecting people and talking about killing the old site...
    You know. So it could like.... be um... beta tested?

    How stupid are you guys exactly?
    In the rush to monetize you've just thrown out decades of common sense and best practices?

    And just hope that *IT'S NEW!* will cover up completely *IT'S CRAP WITH NO NEW FEATURES YOU WANTED AND ALL THE STUFF YOU LIKED IS GONE!*


    Really looks like you're just going to bull ahead with this 'upgrade' and to hell with all the people who actually made this site what it is.
    Kill the cow and complain when the milk doesn't flow anymore.

    Best pray really hard you find some new "users".
    You won't... But that's about your only option left. Hope.

    Damm gonna miss slashdot. Been reading it daily for 16 years. Had a good run.
    But yet again blind greed ruins something good. Damm shame.

  • Even knowing this is happening will change how many people behave. Warnings like this are part of the problem, real security experts will be working to block the watching, not adding to the chilling effects.

    I'd like to quote from Michel Foucault's essay "Panopticon" from his book _Discipline and Punish_. Here's a link to the a pdf of the text: []

    But first an explanation of the term is in order. In the late 18th century Bentham designed a prison where all the cells pointed to a central guard station. Thus, inmates were always being watched. The guard house design incorporated venetian blinds and obtuse corners so that inmates would know that at any time they could be under the watchful eye of guards, but never know exactly _when_. The intent of this was to impose self-restraint upon the inmate community by fear of potential surveillance. That is, self-censorship imposed by an architectural design. Here's what wikipedia has to say on the matter: []

    Foucault took this idea and extended it to surveillance by authorities as a kind of 'social panopticon'.

    [...] The Panopticon is a machine for dissociating the see/being seen dyad: in the peripheric ring, one is totally seen, without ever seeing; in the central tower, one sees everything without ever being seen.

    It is an important mechanism, for it automatizes and disindividualizes power. Power has its principle not so much in a person as in a certain concerted distribution of bodies, surfaces, lights, gazes; in an arrangement whose internal mechanisms produce the relation in which individuals are caught up. The ceremonies, the rituals, the marks by which the sovereign's surplus power was manifested are useless. There is a machinery that assures dissymmetry, disequilibrium, difference. Consequently, it does not matter who exercises power. Any individual, taken almost at random, can operate the machine: in the absence of the director, his family, his friends, his visitors, even his servants (Bentham, 45). Similarly, it does not matter what motive animates him: the curiosity of the indiscreet, the malice of a child, the thirst for knowledge of a philosopher who wishes to visit this museum of human nature, or the perversity of those who take pleasure in spying and punishing. The more numerous those anonymous and temporary observers are, the greater the risk for the inmate of being surprised and the greater his anxious awareness of being observed.


    [Panopticism] is regarded as not much more than a bizarre little utopia, a perverse dream - rather as though Bentham had been the Fourier of a police society, and the Phalanstery had taken on the form of the Panopticon. And yet this represented the abstract formula of a very real technology, that of individuals. There were many reasons why it received little praise; the most obvious is that the discourses to which it gave rise rarely acquired, except in the academic classifications, the status of sciences; but the real reason is no doubt that the power that it operates and which it augments is a direct, physical power that men exercise upon one another. An inglorious culmination had an origin that could be only grudgingly acknowledged. But it would be unjust to compare the disciplinary techniques with such inventions as the steam engine or Amici's microscope. They are much less; and yet, in a way, they are much more. If a historical equivalent or at least a point of comparison had to be found for them, it would be rather in the inquisitorial' technique.

    Foucault extended the idea of the social panopticon throughout all institutions of society, drawing parallels between hierarchical structures in church, state, and corporate spheres where a authority used the possibility of surveillance and the tr

  • by Eskarel ( 565631 ) on Monday February 10, 2014 @04:44AM (#46208443)

    It's not so much "WHY" they have the information or even "WHAT" their intentions are. It's tremendously unlikely that the government has raw computer capabilities even as high as an order of magnitude more than what's currently available on the market. They simply don't have the expertise and such huge amounts of private money are going into the same kind of R&D they'd be doing. I suppose it's possible that all the cost overruns in every government IT project and every recent military project have been going into some sort of super secret project to build high capacity storage and really fast processors, but I think it far more likely that that money has gone to making immensely powerful planes that are useless in modern warfare and paying for 50 levels of contracting.

    The most recent [] data I can find indicates that in 2012 just under 28 exabytes of data per month was flowing through the internet and it was increasing at about 7 exabytes year on year, so a relatively safe assumption is that internet traffice for 2013 was probably about 35 exabytes a month. Based on an old whatif" [] from xkcd, the highest density storage we have microsd cards is about 160 terabytes per kilogram. Let's assume for the sake of insanity that the government can store 10 times that in a manner which is actually practical to process, so we'll give them a data density of 1.6 petabytes per kilogram. This is obviously insane, but let's do it anyway. By that math storing all internet traffic everywhere will mean 35 tons of storage every single month. Note this is ridiculously low and the actual figure is likely substantially higher not counting the mechanisms to actually process and archive all that information.

    None of that even comes close to all the data that isn't on the intranet that they're supposedly trying to siphon down, which probably easily doubles or trebles this figure. This is how we know they aren't storing everyone's information indefinitely, or even temporarily, they can't.

  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya ( 195424 ) <taiki AT cox DOT net> on Monday February 10, 2014 @08:07AM (#46208933)

    Yet nothing.

    The truly infuriating thing about the NSA is how inconsequential they have been. Don't get me wrong, the spying is horrifying and anger making...

    But we aren't even getting security theater out of it. They're doing things just to do them. Cases aren't being solved by PRISM or any of the other creepy programs.

    It's not just that they're violating our rights, they're also doing their jobs really badly.

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan