back to article Marlinspike: Saudi mobe network tried to recruit me to sniff citizens' privates

Claims that a Saudi mobile network is attempting to spy on citizens emerged after the telco apparently tried to recruit top cryptographer Moxie Marlinspike - who promptly went public. The cryptography expert and former hacker, who left Twitter's security team in January, said he had been asked to help Mobily in its state-backed …

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Anonymous Coward

Consider what third world countries are capable of doing, then ask yourself what is your government's capability of spying on you?

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Saudi is a pretty brutal dictatorship, as is the UAE.

But you won't find obama or Cameron talking about that, because they are OUR brutal dictators.

Cameron and Obama are currently helping the Saudis impose their particular brand of "freedom" on Syria... One has to feel sorry for the Syrians... It's out of the frying pan and into the fire, and they won't have us to condemn on their behalf when it's the Saudis bugging the communications and beating the living daylights out of them.

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Facepalm

Not sure about that ...

I suspect the Syrians being tortured/shelled/bombed/murdered by their government would be quite happy to switch to being beaten and bugged by the Saudis.

Look, pretty much everyone can see that the Saudis are governed a bunch of religious thugs in a dictatorship. The scary thing is, that's still better than what a lot of other people in the region and around the world have to put up with. We (as in the West) have to deal with these people, much like we have to deal with the junta in Burma, the kleptocratic gerontocracy in China and all the other various governments around the world. Money and cooperation talks, of course, so they get an easier ride than eg Iran or Venezuela, which have the money but are hostile.

Since you seem to have such insight, what's your solution? Invade like we did with Iraq? Sponsor subversion like we did/are doing with Libya and Syria? Or act like a rational entity with limited resources, and engage with them as best we can?

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Thumb Down

Not a surprise

This is a place where someone can buy their way out - 'legally' - of raping a six year old child, people are executed for witchcraft etc.

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Silver badge
Gimp

No need to look at the Saudis

Why do the words "Echelon" and "Phorm" spring to mind.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No need to look at the Saudis

"PROMIS" ?

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Gold badge
Unhappy

How long before HO press release "UK falling behind Saudia Arabia in being able to spy

on people."

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Big Brother

Theresa May

has the skillz.

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Big Brother

More than two operators.

There are more than two operators in Saudi, three to be exact.

STC = gov run original player

Mobily = newer, parent company is Etisalat (UAE)

Zain = even NEWER, parent company MTC (Kuwait)

Ok they are all Saudi companies as you cant run a business in Saudi without it being Saudi (See HSBC division SABB)

Fun fact, just recently (read within 6 months) you can only get a SIM card if you give the phone companies your ID number, and once they have it you have to type that in every time you want to top up the phone.

It'a a massive pain in the arse that's for sure.

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Holmes

SIM card

Handing over you ID and address to activate a SIM is standard practice in a lot of countries out side the EU.

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Anonymous Coward

spying != legal interception

The tools might be the same; but the purpose is different.

If a Chinese company makes a popular secure chatting program and the company behind it have no presence in the US; do you really believe that the US wouldn't try to create an interception program for that program?

P.S. the bases for a legal interception is different between countries and is not part of the current discussion.

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Silver badge

Re: spying != legal interception

That might be technically true. But as many posters have so frequently posted in other forums, given the international reach of the internet it is very easy to tell the government to 'sod off' on their legal intercepts. Which then moves you into the 'spying' realm in order to get what the country deems a legal intercept.

None of this is to deny that the Saudis aren't brutal dictators. But sometimes your choices are limited to two bad actors. Frankly, they are better than some of the alternatives they are investigating. I'm just glad my lesser of two evil choices are usually limited to whether to install a known insecure version of java for a web browser or not being able to access certain required websites.

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