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Fri Jun 14, 2013, 09:51 PM

 

Face It:: The Internet is Yelling Across a Crowded Room

If you want to whisper a secret to someone for some legitimate reason.. of which there aplenty.. take measures to whisper.

Even email is not private because it is and always has been a distributed communications medium since the ARPAnet days. That means if I'm running a server node, then your email is bounced off of my hard drive on its way to its destination. That's the magic. If I'm a bad sysadmin who knows how, I can read it. I can tell my computer to 'read' it and tell me if it says 'bomb'. That's the magic, since the get-go.

That doesn't mean you can't digitally whisper, but as in real life, if you want to communicate something private, you don't yell it across the cafeteria. You draw the one person aside and put your mouth close to their ear and whisper.

This can be done, if you want to do it, in the digital age. You can still whisper if you care to learn how.

Just be aware that the rest of the time you are yelling across the bar on a Saturday night.

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Arrow 24 replies Author Time Post
Reply Face It:: The Internet is Yelling Across a Crowded Room (Original post)
Phillip McCleod Jun 2013 OP
Warpy Jun 2013 #1
Phillip McCleod Jun 2013 #5
ThePhilosopher04 Jun 2013 #2
Phillip McCleod Jun 2013 #3
ElboRuum Jun 2013 #6
Phillip McCleod Jun 2013 #14
ElboRuum Jun 2013 #15
Phillip McCleod Jun 2013 #17
silverweb Jun 2013 #4
Phillip McCleod Jun 2013 #8
silverweb Jun 2013 #10
Phillip McCleod Jun 2013 #18
ElboRuum Jun 2013 #9
silverweb Jun 2013 #12
ElboRuum Jun 2013 #16
Phillip McCleod Jun 2013 #20
Vinnie From Indy Jun 2013 #7
Phillip McCleod Jun 2013 #11
Vinnie From Indy Jun 2013 #13
DCBob Jun 2013 #19
Phillip McCleod Jun 2013 #21
DCBob Jun 2013 #22
Phillip McCleod Jun 2013 #23
DCBob Jun 2013 #24

Response to Phillip McCleod (Original post)

Fri Jun 14, 2013, 10:01 PM

1. Exactly, and people are now flocking to programs like

Ghostery, Hushmail and DuckDuckGo for ways to block tracking, email snooping and browser snooping. Of course, the best way to avoid this stuff is still to install a program like Tor, which is what the governments of the world have been using for some time (along with kiddie porn distributors and customers).

A better idea is to assume the net isn't secure and if you want to do anything secretly, the best way is with a stamp and delivery via the USPS.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Fri Jun 14, 2013, 10:30 PM

5. nailed it imo.

 

there's also IxQuick and StartPage (same thing) which offer proxy off of search links and guarantee they don't track IPs. handy dandy.

the Guardian Project offers a bunch of apps for Android phones .. all Tor-compliant and working right now a couple feet away on my Droid Razr M/Verizon. https://guardianproject.info/

my only complaint is there's no integrated interface for secure communications.. like the blackberry days of yore, which was primitive but effective.. cf the London riots, which ended that. the fact is OWS wouldn't have been possible without semisecure lines of instant communication. sure people got arrested, but how many are still in jail?

same with the Arab Spring.

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Original post)

Fri Jun 14, 2013, 10:01 PM

2. No It Isn't ...

 

When yelling across a crowded room, it's obvious there are others in the room and assumed that whatever you're yelling can be easily overheard. Most people who send an email or chat online, assume they're having a private conversation or correspondence, even if they know there is potential for hacking. If that wasn't the case, there would be no hullabaloo over the Snowden leak.

A better analogy would be yelling loudly in an apartment building ... neighbors could potentially hear through the walls.

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Response to ThePhilosopher04 (Reply #2)

Fri Jun 14, 2013, 10:14 PM

3. ok maybe it's like sending a message by dogwhistle across a room crowded..

 

..crowded with both people and dogs.

to those know administrate the datacenters, your data is a surreptitious 'su' away, by hook or by crook. how do you 'spose anonymous does it?

what Snowden exposes is the same thing Manning exposed when he downloaded classified info onto a CD and walked out the fucking door.

the NSA are not the Men In Black.

they're the fucking Keystone Kops.. the Boogeyman to anyone who cares to use the right tools for the job. whole multinational corporations.. like Booz Allen.. are built on this.

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Response to ThePhilosopher04 (Reply #2)

Fri Jun 14, 2013, 10:38 PM

6. A dangerous assumption...

...since that is precisely the opposite of the reality.

That they assume this is the problem. The nature of modern communications is that it can be recorded by the very infrastructure that carries it in total, and retained in perpetuity, storage considerations notwithstanding. When something is possible, and an interest in that something is possessed by someone, what is possible is now probable. And since we as individuals don't own that infrastructure, we should be assuming that every character typed is available to someone and we don't know who that someone is, or what they might do with that information.

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Response to ElboRuum (Reply #6)

Fri Jun 14, 2013, 11:09 PM

14. exactly. that 'someone' was Manning and now Snowden.

 

but there are who knows how many other 'someones' with fewer scruples still making sure you're not a terrorist.. y'know, and watching butchery for fun while scratching their balls and playing video games and sexually harassing other personnel.

uncle sam wants *you*

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Reply #14)

Sat Jun 15, 2013, 06:47 AM

15. Uncle Sam is the least of my concerns in this new era.

At least the government is bound by some oversight, even though many think it isn't nearly enough (I tend to agree).

No, what I think is of greater concern is the general availability of online communications to any motivated interest, of which our government is only one (albeit large) interest. The ability for any motivated party to know anything about anyone without directly asking or confronting, and to do so without the consent or even knowledge of the inquired should give anyone who uses the internet or a cell phone or email some pause to think. This is not some grand conspiracy, but a side effect of the technology we've willingly embraced. The democratization of information and the ubiquity of communications is something we've welcomed with open arms, but for some reason, people don't think that particular idea cuts both ways, that by using that technology, you leave a footprint that lasts as long as those providing the infrastructure deem necessary, required, or desired.

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Response to ElboRuum (Reply #15)

Sat Jun 15, 2013, 09:37 AM

17. that's it exactly.. when we send messages electronically..

 

..we leave a trail every single time, unless one learns how to cover one's tracks. it's not an easy trail to find, and takes privileged access to the inner workings of some node in the communications infrastructure, but it's there and it's always been there since the early days of email. since the BBS days for that matter: unscrupulous sysadmins have always been in a position to abuse their power.

anonymous et al has demonstrated that it's possible to gain that kind of access without being granted the authority to do so.. that it's possible to simply *take* that authority, if one can find a way. it might not be super-easy, but there are ways to the savvy and determined. that is one sort of worrisome.

another kind of worrisome.. Verizon et al are being required by law to make it super-easy for the Spies to do so.. and i think that's what makes gov't snooping more worrisome.. we opted into being tracked by Google, Facebook, etc. when we agree to the TOS. i don't remember opting into the NSA.

but both kinds of worrisome accessiblity to our data are side-effects of the basic infrastructure of electronic communications. we're generating more and bigger data, and corporations and the Spies are both finding ways to mine that resource to profile us.. either for targeted ads, or targeted drone strikes.

point is.. if one wants to whisper in this environment, one must go out of one's way to do so. it is foolhardy to assume that insecure lines of communication are secure.

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Original post)

Fri Jun 14, 2013, 10:21 PM

4. We've been told for years.

[font color="navy" face="Verdana"]Cordless phones are not private. Cell phones are not private. Email and other on-line activity can not be assumed to be private. ANYONE with the technological know-how can hack these things.

We KNOW that corporate entities data mine for statistical and advertising purposes all the time, and should always have assumed that the NSA had their finger in the technological pie all along.

Anyone who has continued to think their cellular phone calls, emails, and other on-line activity were "private" is pretty damn naive or just plain dumb.

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Response to silverweb (Reply #4)

Fri Jun 14, 2013, 10:44 PM

8. thank you, yes.

 

i had a crazy neighbor who rigged his radio shack police scanner to circumvent frequency blocks and listened to our *other* neighbors. he had wires strung up between trees in the middle of the woods. crazy. also, missing and rotting teeth.

point is, he saved my dogs' lives. the other neighbor was plotting with the VP of the neighborhood association to kill my dogs. no shit. he brought his scanner over, and I called the guy and confronted him about it. seconds after i hung up he called the VP and they both wondered how the hell i knew. it was that crazy toothless creepy peeper who saved my beautiful Nesta and Shilo.

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Reply #8)

Fri Jun 14, 2013, 10:53 PM

10. That turned out well!

[font color="navy" face="Verdana"]I'm glad your dogs were saved.

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Response to silverweb (Reply #10)

Sat Jun 15, 2013, 09:40 AM

18. me too!

 

sometimes doing the right thing involves breaking the law.

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Response to silverweb (Reply #4)

Fri Jun 14, 2013, 10:46 PM

9. Precisely.

But we live in a world where sharing every detail of our lives via social media is the latest addiction du jour. Let's look it at it this way. Every time Facebook changes their privacy settings in some semi-malefic way, there is an uproar... for about ten minutes or so... but does anyone actually stop posting cat pictures and repetitious internet memes? Does the reduced or difficult to implement/understand privacy scheme deter anyone from posting there? Has the concern for privacy been effectively trumped by narcissism?

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Response to ElboRuum (Reply #9)

Fri Jun 14, 2013, 10:58 PM

12. Open society?

[font color="navy" face="Verdana"]I'm not so sure social media has led to "narcissism" (though perhaps among some), but it has certainly led to an attitude of "who cares who knows?" among many when it comes to the minutiae of their daily lives.

Most of the stuff people say is in the "who cares" category, and anyone who posts anything too personal to be public is an idiot.

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Response to silverweb (Reply #12)

Sat Jun 15, 2013, 06:56 AM

16. Narcissism...

The participatory web, message boards, Facebook, blogging, vlogging, etc. have all convinced me that given a moment of free time and a medium of expression, people talk about themselves first, foremost, and given enough time and encouragement, only.

The web didn't make us narcissists, it unshackled our narcissism and gave it a voice.

It amazes me that people are concerned about their digital privacy NOW, since we've been basically broadcasting the finest, most mundane details of our lives for nearly two decades as a matter of personal ego gratification.

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Response to ElboRuum (Reply #16)

Sat Jun 15, 2013, 09:46 AM

20. yep. exactly why i used the analogy of yelling across a crowed bar.

 

i've quit and rejoined facebook a number of times. quit because i don't trust them, and rejoined because my entire family is on there.. and no matter how awesome the alternative, they won't use it. they're on facebook complaining about facebook, when they could be on Diaspora* complaining about Facebook.. but there is no alternative that will penetrate their complacency and inertia. they would rather complain and do nothing.. than simply solve the problem.

much of the outrage over the NSA rings pretty fucking hollow to me in this context. not that i like the NSA spying.. but it got this far.. it got this bad.. because tools, noobs and users want corporations to secure their communications *for them*.

it doesn't work that way. if one wants to send a secure message.. don't fucking use facebook, dumbass.

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Original post)

Fri Jun 14, 2013, 10:39 PM

7. Whispering is hardly a remedy for what appears to await us

If the accounts of NSA private contractors selling their awesome capabilities to entities like Bank of America and The Chamber of Commerce to smear their critics are true, "whispering" seems like very weak tonic. It appears we are facing corporations that are now armed with the NSA's private contractor army to secure and further their corporate goals. In light of that, whispering is the last thing freedom loving Ameicans should be doing.

Cheers!

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Response to Vinnie From Indy (Reply #7)

Fri Jun 14, 2013, 10:54 PM

11. ah, but all is not lost.. consider..

 

say i want to send a secure message. i have a hotmail account, sure, but in a minute i could set up a throwaway account using a masked IP and pop an encrypted message in it with a 4096-bit key and it would be for all intents and purposes unbreakable. if i lost my key, i could never recover it, and neither could anyone else. there's stronger encryption than that readily available to anyone who wants it bad enough, and you can pop it into an email and send it.

https://www.hushmail.com/ does a pretty decent job of just that, with much weaker, but still passable, crypto.

Register and always use that hushmail account through Tor and you will also mask your trail. Log in once from the wrong browser though, and you are popped.

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Reply #11)

Fri Jun 14, 2013, 11:03 PM

13. Your wisdom is but pearls before swine in my case

I do appreciate the attempt to educate me in these matters. If they come for me, it will be solely because of my lifelong curse of being the fly in the ointment.

Cheers!

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Original post)

Sat Jun 15, 2013, 09:45 AM

19. Well in fact no one is even listening unless they have just cause.

You are free to shout whatever you want and the Govt doesnt care unless your activities throw red flags.

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Response to DCBob (Reply #19)

Sat Jun 15, 2013, 09:55 AM

21. not true at all. not even slightly or sort of true.

 

clearly you don't understand how the technology works. no *person* is listening until a flag is raised.. but the flag is raised by an artificial intelligence.. *machines* are 'listening' and they are *learning* from everything they 'hear'.

day one of my machine learning course (400-level CS) the professor came in wearing a brand new black t-shirt over his pot belly that proudly proclaimed..

'I'm Building SKYNET!'

..in large, friendly letters.

people aren't raising red flags. machines are.. and you are simply, flatly *wrong* if you think the machines can't listen to everything at once. they can, and they do.

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Reply #21)

Sat Jun 15, 2013, 09:58 AM

22. "listening" as in recording conversations/chats/emails, etc.

not happening... unless there are legitimate reasons.

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Response to DCBob (Reply #22)

Sat Jun 15, 2013, 11:05 AM

23. wrong again.

 

again you fail to understand the technology.

nobody has to *record* calls, chats or emails.. you do that when you make the call or send the text/email. it *is* a recording itself.. not just one recording, but copy after copy as it bounces from disk to disk, mail server to mail server, phone to cell (radio) tower to outgoing signal server to satellite to Verizon to the NSA and eventually to the incoming dish network to another cell tower to someone else's phone. even if you're calling your neighbor.

it's *all* recordings, and at each point, there are security policies and mechanisms in place to protect that data.

and to analyze it.

including your emails, if you use gmail, hotmail, aol, yahoo, etc. machines read it all. all of it.

get an email on your own dedicated mail server and that fact may be partly ameliorated on your end, but if you send it to your friend bill@gmail.com then it will be read by a learning machine anyway. that is not conspiracy theory, that is what gmail, hotmail, aol, yahoo, etc. have said they do. this is what they do, like or don't like it, care or don't care.

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Reply #23)

Sat Jun 15, 2013, 07:43 PM

24. you fail to understand the issue..

The issue we are discussing is monitoring of our communications by the Government. I am well aware of how internet data is stored. Im a software engineer. Of course data is stored all over the place.. but the NSA does not store everyone's emails or chats or voice calls. That is a common misconception by many on this board.

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