back to article Snowden leak journo leaks next leak: NSA, GCHQ dying to snoop on your gadgets mid-flight

Top-secret documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have been plastered across our screens and front-pages for months by Glenn Greenwald and his team. And on Friday the journalist couldn't help but leak a few details about a forthcoming wave of fresh revelations regarding the US and UK governments' mass surveillance …

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  1. DougS Silver badge

    I don't get it

    If you can't use your phone in flight, there is nothing for them to snoop. The only way you can use it is using infrastructure provided by the airplane.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: I don't get it

      And THAT'S exactly what they want to tap into if you read the article.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: I don't get it

        But how does that match with the FAA approving cell use in flight? If they don't approve it, then no one uses their cell phone in flight, so they can only talk on the ground where the NSA is already tapping them.

        The article makes it sound like the approval is to allow the NSA to more easily tap, but without the approval there's nothing TO tap...

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: DougS Re: I don't get it

          "....The article makes it sound like the approval is to allow the NSA to more easily tap, but without the approval there's nothing TO tap..." The answer is simple - Greenwald is scraping the barrel of Snowdope's "revelations" and is now having to make up stories about "threats" that haven't even occurred and wouldn't even be in the NSA's interest.

        2. csumpi
          WTF?

          Re: I don't get it

          Dude! As mentioned above, RTFA! Paragraph 4:

          "Conveniently, US comms watchdog the FCC has given a thumbs up to in-flight mobile broadband, and the European Aviation Safety Agency is relaxing its rules on the use of electronics before and during flights"

      2. dssf

        Re: I don't get it "Get Smart", as in

        Maxwell Smart.

        Control and Kaos, disorder from order.

        Terrorists in the high skies, writing messages on Etch-A-Sketch, or erase-film writing pads of the 70s, in a long slender tube, with not enough money and manpower to Toss-Across-Like or Twister-Like occupy every-other-seat fashion spy on passengers surely WOULD send the aplabtes aegceis into to a tissy. All that dehydrator noise (note: IIUC, human perspiration rehydrates the planes once at altitude or pressurized) would likely wreak havoc on cabin-mounted spy mics -- even if a bug is under every seat and in every head rest.

        Phones-less planes are just a slender cone of silence. OTOH, if NOone can use phones, the agencies shouldn't be in a tissy -- it is just the status quo. It seems they WANT to get the extra, junk-filled civvy chatter rather than knowing they've got burden-relieveing tubes depriving everyone of comms. One'd THINK they want brief respites now and then. But, I guess this proves we'd be damned wrong, not just wrong.

        Just underscores how they think they ARE the masters of the uniwerse....

        Where are the ETs to ask them for the punchline? Or, would that violate a Prime Directive/Non-Interference Directive? Oh, what a juicy, fertile, RIPE, RICH anthropological playground this planet must be in the eyes of advance lifeforms. Fortunately for the spy agencies and non-legally-baddy types, no god-like hands are intervening in the fortunes and carryings-on of these agencies. If a god or superior, externa... Umm, off-worldly force stepped in, these agencies would howl "UNNECESSARY CONTACT/ INTERFERENCE" and quasi-football sportscaster terms... Is one of them "excessive contact"? Hahahaha. But, there's one term struggling to come to tongue, and heart anguishes that the appointed, annointed term is elusive presently...

  2. Awil Onmearse

    "NSA conducts all of its activities in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies "

    With the notable exception of the Bill of Rights, you mendacious, lying fucks. Public enemy #1.

    1. g e

      Thwarted bomb attacks

      They've also prevented at least four alien invasions, three asteroid strikes two Bond ultra villains (and a partridge in a pear tree, cos, well, it's festive time).

      Like the bomb attacks, though, they couldn't provide proof cos it's, you know, all classified an' stuff, innit.

      But it's true. Honest it is.

      1. Matthew Taylor

        Re: Thwarted bomb attacks

        All together now...

        On the first day of Christmas, the NSA saved me,

        From a gun toting jihadi.

        On the second day of Christmas, the NSA saved me,

        From two dirty bombs,

        And a gun toting jihadi.

        On the third day of Christmas, the NSA saved me,

        From three terrorist cells,

        Two dirty bombs,

        And a gun toting jihadi.

        I'm "typing" on an iPad, so that will have to do. More verses welcome

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Thwarted bomb attacks

          How about...

          Four Pipeline Blasts

          FIVE SUITCASE NUKES

          Six Cars-a-Blowin'

          Seven Lorries (or Trucks-a-) Rammin'

          Eight Nitro Bottles

          Nine Panty Bombers

          Ten Rivers Poisoned

          Eleven Plants from Meltdown

          Tweve Planes-a-Crashin'

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      @Awil Onmearse

      "With the notable exception of the Bill of Rights, you mendacious, lying fucks. Public enemy #1."

      They have something better

      Think of it as a sort of "Act of Enablement."

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: @Awil Onmearse

        Not bad, but all the 'naughty' 12 days if Christmas versions I've heard retain 'Five Choir Boys' - usually with amusing juxtapositions for 4 & 6

  3. Denarius Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Out of curiosity

    last time a German state crumbled, its technical elites were grabbed by the invaders. One cant help but wonder if Stasi have been recruited by poms and yank security because they have experience in mass intrusive domestic surveillance.

    Cynical minds want to know, but don't believe anything they hear, even if officially denied.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Out of curiosity

      partly YES. I have heard widespread discussions within the european communications industry that a handful of the ex-Stasi engineers ended up creating all the 'good' crypto algos within europe. They seem not so much to have been *directly* recruited by 5eyes - these Stasi stayed in Berlin and became consultants for german/eu companies, especially the good Bavarians.

      However I don't have any evidence for the idea that recruited ex-Stasi teams led the mass-over-collection surveillance... lets have a quick look into the archives...

      One of the over collection key players - we'll just call him "JP" received his Nuclear Physics PhD from Caltech in 1964 (from Fenyman!) and the other proponent seems similarly to have been a US national, together working at the DoD advanced research projects group in the 2000's.

      (This 2008 Aviation World & Space Technology [1]pdf does mention that it was ARPA that directly employed Von Braun - (presumably an US Citizen with Secret clearance living in Arlington) by 1958.)

      Trying to directly connect Markus Wolf & his unsavoury colleagues with DARPA unfortunately takes us to fringe parts of the 'net - where we do learn that he was allegedly employed[2] with some ex-KGB assistants at Poindexter's total information awareness program [3](DARPA still in 2003/5) The cover story was that they -Wolf & KGB - were working at DHS to develop a new internal passport, whilst actually they were actually consulting with Admiral Poindexter on overcollection. There are very little sources for this! just places like [4] where quote:"On a radio appearance earlier today {Political analyst Al} Martin stated that the admission that Wolf would be hired was made in a BBC radio interview given by the former head of the KGB, General Yevgeni Primakov. Martin had previously reported that Primakov had been hired as a consultant by the US Department of Homeland Security" in [2] Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt claimed that DHS was the smokescreen for employment at DARPA/Poindexter's OIA

      [1]http://www.darpa.mil/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=2685

      [2]http://www.newswithviews.com/iserbyt/iserbyt7.htm

      [3]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6b/Total_Information_Awareness_--_system_diagram.gif

      [4]http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/december2004/061204wolfhired.htm

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Out of curiosity@ Denarius

      " One cant help but wonder if Stasi have been recruited by poms and yank security ...."

      Not to mention Strine security. "Five eyes" or whatever the nasty euphemism was for "Spying Anglophone Bastards Together".*

      * No. I tried to get a good acronym, but after 30 seconds trying and failing I gave up.

      1. Denarius Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Out of curiosity@ Denarius

        in reply to AC, you almost had one. I suggest YAPS aka Yanks, Australians, Poms Spying.

        Like those horrible little toy dog things that sadistic women keep to annoy everyone around them. yap yap yap yaps.

        To earlier AC if different, informative. Thanks

  4. Don Jefe

    There's A Hint In The Name

    'Validated Foreign Intelligence Target'

    There's just so very much wrong with, well, whatever that up there is. What the fuck is that? Is it a target identified by our foreign intelligence services? Is it a target of a foreign intelligence service? What!?!?!?

    No way to tell I suppose, moving on. How about that 'validated'... Validated by whom? Validated how? Are we talking 'WMD's in Iraq' validated or your neighbors ex-boyfriend whose college roommate went to London the same week as a terrorist eight years ago validated?

    Pray tell, how did you acquire the information required to validate that person as a foreign intelligence target? I really hope it's from a more reliable source than the guests at Hotel Democracy - Cuba who were overwhelmed by the water park. A better source than the butt nuggets both the US and UK pay to tell them what they want to hear. The tips that sound super feasible until something else blows up.

    The only upshot I can find in any of this is that the PR people at NSA have obviously hired a communication expert. Based on everything the NSA has said up until this point it is absolutely impossible they coined that term, or indeed, the entire statement. That's professional messaging. The upshot is that they've created at least one new role (yay for job creation) and high level jobs like raft usually have at least a couple of functionaries. So anywhere between three and eight new jobs have been created in the US alone!

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: There's A Hint In The Name

      Sadly, "validated foreign intelligence target" is a real milspeak term in this case. It sounds wordsmithed because between Congress, the DOJ and the alphabet agencies, its had the Hell lawyered out it.

      Definition: somebody who is not an American resident, or an American who is or may be working with someone outside the u.s and who does not buy into pax Americana. Moral continuum can be anywhere between Adolf Hitler and Martin Luther King Jr.

      As a real world example, one of those two individuals I just named was actually an NSA target. Need a hint on which one? Well, not the one who once declared war on the U.S.

      1. DasBub

        Re: There's A Hint In The Name

        Yes, how strange that the NSA didn't target Hitler - a man who died 7 years before the NSA was created.

        1. Chris Miller

          Re: There's A Hint In The Name

          GCHQ (in the form of its predecessor the Government Code and Cypher School) targeted Hitler to the extent of tens of thousands of people (and inventing the computer) in order to listen to his communications. Damn, Godwin's Law strikes again.

          1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

            Re: There's A Hint In The Name

            The NSA descended from Commander William Rochefort's naval intelligence unit in Honolulu, Hawaii (Pearl Harbor). That was the unit that famously decrypted the Japanese JN naval codes in time to intercept Japanese offensives at the battles of Coral Sea and Midway.

            It's also why the NSA is still officially part of the Navy, and why they have an ongoing operation on Oahu, which is where Edward Snowden worked.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

          Re: There's A Hint In The Name

          @DasBub Way to miss the point, dude.

          1. DasBub

            Re: There's A Hint In The Name

            There was a point? ohshi

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: There's A Hint In The Name

          A UK team was going to assassinate Hitler as he had his tea in a tea house. But towards the end Hitler's leadership was erratic and poor. By removing Hitler he would have been replaced by someone a lot more tough, so the assassination was called off.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Foxley

        5. cyrus

          Re: There's A Hint In The Name

          The bastard!

        6. Denarius Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: There's A Hint In The Name

          that's what they want you to think :-) Ignore the Parkinsons and probable syphylus, El Schekelgruber (1) is still advising military strategy. I mean, how many wars have the yanks won since end of WW2 ?

          (1) look it up, Barvarian Customs official

          Godwins Law, the second last refuge of the brainless catchphrase slinger. For use only in USENET flame wars

    2. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

      Re: There's A Hint In The Name

      I share the sentiment, Don Jefe, but I do think they mean "validated, foreign, intelligence target" - I hope you follow my drift. From previously divulged context, I supposed "validated" means "validated to be foreign at 51% confidence level", and "intelligence target" is a direct (tautological) corollary of the same. Hrrmph...

  5. MarkEllett

    Irony at its best with the comment of 'weapons proliferators'.

    The west owns the majority of high end weaponry producing companies.

    That doesn't detract from the need for safety but the powers that be are being shown as deceitful, which is not a good thing

    1. Spoddyhalfwit

      Weapons proliferators

      Like these?

      http://edition.cnn.com/2011/12/29/world/meast/u-s--saudi-fighter-sale/

      It's okay for the USA to sell fighter planes to the nut job dictator who runs Saudi, a regime linked to numerous Al Qaeda plots

      http://nypost.com/2013/12/15/inside-the-saudi-911-coverup/

      The NSA are in the great tradition of the imbeciles who kept us safe by training Bin laden and his buddies in Afghanistan. But they all get to live in nice houses paid for by our taxes, for "keeping us safe"

      1. Suricou Raven

        Re: Weapons proliferators

        I have to wonder if there's some sort of kill-code embeded in the radar device. Pick up the right 128-bit sequence, jam the instruments.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Weapons proliferators

          the opposite unfortunately happened in the Falklands conflict where the Argentinian launched anti-ship missiles radar lock signature was allegedly interpreted by the Royal Navy's command & control defence systems as "friendly" (of French origin) devices. This might be a myth.

  6. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    This brings up a consideration on your next trans-Atlantic/trans-Pacific flight

    From a current/future FISA court filing:

    "Yes your honor, the persons in question left their national airspaces to enter international waters, and at the point of doing so they left behind the legal protections of their respective nation states. At the time this happens, our contention is that their ceases to be any meaningful legal impediments preventing our access to their mobile devices and computers during the period they are over international waters.

    Your honor, our proposal is that you agree that we can go butt-naked, hog wild on their devices at that point in their travels. And I mean getting all up in their crap like a fly in an outhouse! That lady playing Candy Crush? We just downloaded her phone contacts, text messages and her high scores too! That suit going over budget forecasts on his laptop? We got his forecast, plus product release roadmaps, meeting calendar and business development proposals. That little brown kid with the Koranic lessons on his ereader? We just checked his Kindle for copies of the Anarchist's Cookbook and jihadi literature! The little brat will be lucky if we don't tell the CIA to throw him on another flight to Guantanamo when he steps off his commercial flight!!

    Please! please!! please!!!--let us do this!!!!

    If you see no laws impeding our ability to do so, please endorse this filing on the signature line provided below.

    XOXOXO,

    Keith "Almighty" Alexander

    X___________________________________

    P.S.--We may need to cut the relevant airlines in on some juicy Military Airlift Command contracts, but I can swing that back at the DoD and DoJ.

  7. jason 7
    Unhappy

    I just wish they would drop the whole 'terrorism' cover.

    It's not terrorism this is being done for, it's full control of everyone.

    The powers that be don't want any surprises as the world fills up and the resources dwindle. They want to be able to nip any dissent in the bud quickly in case what they have is in any danger of being taken away.

    This is the 1% building their barricades for 20+ years in the future.

    I think of all the 'Freedom BS' we used to hear during the Cold War when in fact those very Govts spouting about freedom were actually envious of what the communists were doing.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Meh

        Re: I just wish they would drop the whole 'terrorism' cover.

        "Can you imagine how they could rig any & every election with back doors to the bogus voting machines. OOPPPSS!!!!! Did I actually say that? NO!!!"

        Only in those countries stupid enough to use them.

    2. Hans 1 Silver badge

      Re: I just wish they would drop the whole 'terrorism' cover.

      @Json7

      Why ? Gandhi and Mandela were considered terrorists ... It is the term used for enemies in the more general sense. When it is used by government agencies, it mostly refers to freedom fighters or jedi's.

  8. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Shooting yourself in the head ...... is a real dumb negligent discharge and a chargeable offence

    "A surveillance state breeds conformity, because if human beings know they are susceptible to being watched, even if they're not being watched, they cling far more closely to orthodoxy." .... Glenn Greenwald

    In their wildest wacky wet dreams, GG, .... for the alternate virtual reality and actuality is the exact opposite in smart thinking beings who be not just dumb mindless ignorant humans, and such a state of surveillance breeds unbridled revolution and unrivalled evolution in autonomous secret, anonymously secure, astutely active sublime intelligence networks.

    The practice creates for itself and its support leading characters, an increasingly sophisticated and highly accurately targeted weapon of massive self destruction, launched and controlled by others that be conceived and perceived as the phantom enemy to be constantly surveilled/monitored and mentored.

    1. Thought About IT

      Re: Clinging to Orthodoxy

      You'd have to come from Mars not to realise that clinging to orthodoxy is the essence of the problem that Snowden has unearthed. The intelligensia of East Germany didn't defeat the Stasi, because they could never create a mass movement from people who spied on each other. It might turn individual dissenters into terrorists (which would be twisted to legitimise the surveillance), but how on earth could opposition to an overbearing state grow under such intense monitoring?

    2. Don Jefe

      Re: Shooting yourself in the head ...... is a real dumb negligent discharge and a chargeable offence

      Orthodoxy, as a set of defined, structured behaviors and strictures, qualifying individuals who adhere for membership in a group, broad consistency if you will, is a management tool of those in leadership positions who are too weak to lead or the final act of the desperate about to be overcome by reality.

      Consistency is not a natural behavior in a normally functioning Human. This is evidenced in our extreme adaptability, found nowhere else in higher (Terran) life forms. We are designed/evolved (whatever you prefer) to assess a situation from all angles and make a choice in how to proceed. Unlike animals who respond the same way, every time, to a given stimulus, we learn and adapt, and we have physical characteristics that give us nearly limitless options. To pursue consistency is to fight the headwinds of evolution. To intentionally ignore capacities, to remove tools from our tool chest is, in fact, insanity in its most fundamental definition.

      Those who seek consistency, who know in advance how they will act in a given situation, effectively see the future, are destined to fail the closer they get to those who accept every new situation on its own merits and act according to their current analysis and goals. That unpredictable behavior, the essence of what allows Humans to thrive, is horrifying to the small minded, the weak.

      They attempt to control what frightens them, but they have a limited number of tools in their toolchest. Specialized tools that are worthless if there is no standard. They have no ability to create new, more appropriate tools, as creativity requires unstructured thought, random thoughts amalgamated into a new whole, applied and discarded. If fate provides them occasionally with a new tool, they will cling to this new thing like a child and a blanket. They now depend on this new silver bullet for everything. Never realizing that it wasn't the tool itself that succeeded. The success was the appropriate tool used properly at the appropriate time.

      Those circumstances are unlikely to repeat, therefore the tool should be discarded, recycled as it were, where certain parts of it may be combined with other recycled parts on the future, in new situations. To maintain the tool indefinitely is to reduce the number of parts you have with which to build a new tool for the next task.

      The weak minded, lower animals and machines are consistent. No Man should be treated as those things. I will not allow others to treat me in such a manner. I am a free man, a product of instinct and education and I will not limit myself in some vain attempt to overpower the order of nature by molding it into perfect shapes. I will embrace inconsistency, I will wallow in illogic and be Human. No animal, no sick soul, no machine. I will do as I will and will not stop, I am unstoppable, as long as my body has life. I am Human.

      1. Quxy
        Unhappy

        "I am not a number! I am a free man!"

        Unfortunately, as Huxley noted, the alert minds which correctly note this creeping tyranny "fail to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions”. Western society has already become obsessed with conformity to mass consumerism; conformity to police-state dictats should be relatively easy, as long as the growth of social media and popular entertainment doesn't slacken.

  9. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    I'm going to repeat a post I made on another forum; it has relevance.

    It strikes me that the creation of 'terrorist' laws are the ultimate success of the terrorists' actions: they show that they have instilled terror in the minds of the people and their law-making representatives.

    - terrorism laws remove the checks and safeguards present in the previous laws; in particular the presumption of innocence, the right to be tried on presented evidence by a jury of your peers, the right to challenge - and in some cases even to know - the evidence presented against you, and the right to be punished only after you have been found guilty.

    - terrorism laws legitimise the acts performed by and the views held by the terrorists and their controllers: they make mass murder a political act and not that of a psychopath.

    - terrorism laws - with the exception of those relating to incarceration without trial - needlessly duplicate existing laws: oddly enough, it's already illegal to conspire to cause explosions or to commit murder. Kudos to the prosecutor who decided to charge those responsible for Lee Rigby's murder with *murder*.

    - terrorism laws lead to the relaxation of carefully guarded rights, obligations, and expectations. It is now apparently acceptable to monitor *all* communications - even if 'only' for traffic analysis - without the requirement of a judge's oversight of the evidence and the issuing of a search warrant. It is perfectly legal to encrypt one's data - but automatically illegal to refuse to provide decryption keys on demand. If the security forces decide it, one might find that normally privileged communication - say with a doctor, a priest, or a lawyer - has been monitored.

    - terrorism laws remove the casual expectation of privacy, and as in the point above, make an attempt to maintain privacy an automatic assumption of guilt. Apparently, if you have nothing to fear you have nothing to hide...

    - terrorism laws are incredibly disproportionate for their acknowledged effect: a hundred times more people are killed each year in road traffic accidents, and ten thousand more die from alcohol or smoking related effects, than do so from terrorism action in the UK.

    - terrorism laws make the possession of *knowledge* an offence. Specifically, knowledge which might be used in a terrorist act. Which is such a wide field as to make it a catch-all on demand: you know how to drive? You could have driven that car-bomb. You happen to have a book of workshop recipes? That includes details of poisons and explosives... you have information about the road network or communication systems or you know enough electronics to make a timer? Guilty...

    - terrorism laws are said to be effective - by the people whose jobs depend on them. While I have no doubt that they may be sincere in their views, and indeed in their facts, I find it deeply worrying that it is apparently impossible for these agencies to tell the public what and who and when; they blithely announce that ever-so-many terrorist plots have been detected and stopped and yet no-one is in court and they can't tell us who... if there is evidence of conspiracy, let it be shown.

    Were I ever to stand for a political position, it would be on the removal of any and all terrorism legislation.

    ______________________________

    That was written with an eye on the UK situation but I think it applies in *any* state that performs mass observation, whether it's the Stasi or the NKVD or GCHQ or the NSA - or anywhere in between. And it strikes me that until the point made in the last paragraph is addressed - that of the unwillingness of the surveillance agencies to show the results they claim - then they have absolutely *no* legitimacy.

    Because that's the ultimate claim: they are doing things on *my* behalf but they will neither say what they are (leading to the bunfest of Snowden's claims) nor provide evidence of their success. It's no good the head of an agency appearing before a carefully groomed parliamentary committee and claiming they have stopped 'many' terrorist plots - until we see the alleged arbiters of these plots in court, the evidence for their crime (and remember there are perfectly good 'conspiracy to...' laws that *don't* include the word terrorism) and the way in which that evidence was collected, then I have to conclude that the reason for these agencies is merely to perpetuate themselves.

    Like any other bureaucracy, there are no doubt a sincere minority of members who believe in the task the bureaucracy is intended to perform - and do it to the best of their ability. And a vast majority whose main stake in the thing is to see the bureaucracy continue...

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: I'm going to repeat a post I made on another forum; it has relevance.

      Quite so, Neil Barnes. And more and more folk are seeing the bigger picture and being enabled to be able to resolve and change everything to other ways of thinking and doing things, remotely and anonymously which be relatively autonomously.

      And they be offering their services to existing incumbent power bases to gauge whether they be worth a further supporting to remain a valued and valid part of the crew of the New Orderly WWWorld Leader Ship?

      And that be more a metaphorical than rhetorical question although no question at all whenever IT delivers it as the reality virtually provided by Creative Cyber Command and Control of Computers and Communications, which be just AI at ITs Work for some SMARTR folk.

      Have an upvote for sharing so much common sense and knowledge.

    2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: I'm going to repeat a post I made on another forum; it has relevance.

      - terrorism laws lead to the relaxation of carefully guarded rights, obligations, and expectations. It is now apparently acceptable to monitor *all* communications - even if 'only' for traffic analysis

      It's not just terrorism laws, but technology in general that are eroding rights and expectations. Pretty much every 'net connected company seems to think it's acceptable to do traffic or social analysis using whatever data they can get their grubby mits on. And are far less regulated than the T or FLAs.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm going to repeat a post I made on another forum; it has relevance.

      "It strikes me that the creation of 'terrorist' laws are the ultimate success of the terrorists' actions: they show that they have instilled terror in the minds of the people and their law-making representatives."

      It's not the terrorists that succeeded, it's the "law-making representatives". They are the ones who gain from a terrorized public, allowing them to impose restrictions on individual freedoms.

      And since they don't really represent the people but rather corporate interests, you have to wonder who/what actually is fueling the ongoing 'terrorist scare'.

      But wait, that's a concpiracy theory, isn't it.

    4. Don Jefe

      Re: I'm going to repeat a post I made on another forum; it has relevance.

      Terrorism laws are a victory for terrorists. Not just a victory, it's more like a subscription to the 'Victory of the Week Club'.

      What gets me about the last 13ish years of 'terror' is that so many people act like terrorism is a new thing. Terror with a Fundamentalist Islamic bent is kind if new in The West (since the '70's) but that's just a change of faces, it isn't like terrorizing people for power and profit was invented after we destabilized Iran. For as far back as we can go in history, terrorizing and harassing the citizens of your enemy has been a strategy. It never really worked, until we responded as Nations.

      It has been know for ages that acknowledging terrorists only made them stronger. It's just like when a company can't stop talking about their competition, they're doing the expensive awareness exercises for you. It's bad practice in business and it's bad practice in threat management. The UK was single handedly responsible for turning the IRA from a bunch of drunkards and petty criminals into a real political force with support across the globe. They just kept talking and talking about the IRA you couldn't have paid for better marketing. It's the same with the US and Al-Queda today. It's the worst possible response and people have know this for thousands of years.

      All terrorist groups have one desire on common, they want to be heard, they want a voice in their fate. That's a reasonable thing to want, but terrorists are children and they act like children, having a tantrum when they don't get their way. Traditionally we ignored them, but we act like the worst sorts of parents, the kind that just give in to their childrens desires to make them shut up. That never works with kids, they just push harder, and it's the same with terrorists. We're not only allowing them to be heard, we are actually responding to their demands. We are responding so well that all of us have had to change our lives to accommodate the terrorists. They're getting exactly what they want, and it costs them almost nothing.

      We as people, and our governments are ignoring thousands of years of history and proven responses (or lack thereof) to terrorism and it isn't working. We're more scared now than we've ever been. The threat has not gotten bigger or more complex, not at all, nothing in any of this is new except our poor responses.

      We've got a choice, we can be responsible parents, and ignore the terrorists, or at least not do their marketing for them, or we can just close and bolt the doors and go back to every country as a walled fortress. There are no other options. But if we go back to countries as walled fortresses the paranoid and the weak will have nowhere else but inside their own walls to look for things to be afraid of.

    5. R Callan
      Boffin

      Re: I'm going to repeat a post I made on another forum; it has relevance.

      - terrorism laws make the possession of *knowledge* an offence

      This definition makes me, and my high school chemistry teacher, RIP, terrorists. I was taught how to make

      1.. fuming nitric acid

      2.. fuming sulphuric acid

      3.. how to safely combine these chemicals with certain organic materials (such as cotton wool) to make organo-nitrates more commonly called high explosives.

      Perhaps iI should turn myself in now.

      p.s. perhaps a time will come when, just for fun, ordinary people will send each other encrypted messages to see if the recipient can decode them. I have devised one encryption method which I feel is nearly unbreakable as it is a variant of one time pads without the pads.

  10. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Pint

    They can't snoop it you don't use the device

    The rise in popularity of the 'All-In-1' device a.k.a. The Smartphone is IMHO a clear security risk. Having all your sensitive data in one place makes it easy for 'The Man' to slurp all of that data into their data banks.

    When traveling

    1) Keep your Smartphone powered down and in a metal case.

    2) Use separate devices and never sync them together

    3) Go back to pen/pencil and paper for communications.

    4) Never talk shop or anything remotely sensitive such as who is bonking whom while traveling.

    5) Take the time you are in a plane/train to relax. At the moment not doing something isn't a crime now is it?

    Have a beer or five. It may help you forget what is being done in order to keep you safe.(not a lot)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They can't snoop it you don't use the device

      1) They can probably use the case as an antenna and get to your phone easier. If not, they can probably just overpower any faraday cage that can fit on a portable frame. As for being powered down, even if you took out the battery, suppose there's a hidden battery (or even an NFC receiver that can accept ambient power)?

      2) The way the world works, you'll be forced to juggle devices as you'll find you need to search through every device for that one contact. Either that or you'll be left hanging at a crucial moment. There's a reason we tend to sync contacts; you never know which one you need on a moment's notice.

      3) Slow as all getup and impractical when the parties are separated. Time is money.

      4) At that state, might as well stop mentioning sports or any OTHER topic of interest while you're at it, given they could glean your identity from your preferences. Oh yeah, they could also glean details from your SILENCE. Face it, they'll figure things out from the things you HAVE to do to live: even walking.

      5) Yes: a crime on my body. I'm naturally fidgety and holding still makes me PHYSICALLY uncomfortable (I toss and turn in bed, too). So it's impossible for me to relax in an airplane.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They can't snoop it you don't use the device

        they can probably just overpower any faraday cage that can fit on a portable frame

        I suggest you go back to school until you learn how a Faraday cage works.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They can't snoop it you don't use the device

        "Oh yeah, they could also glean details from your SILENCE. Face it, they'll figure things out from the things you HAVE to do to live: even walking."

        Failing that just make up a faintly plausible story that will barely be covered by the facts. People still wearing orange jumpsuits in a camp out west, a lot of them innocent and simply born with a dark skin and being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: They can't snoop it you don't use the device

      "3) Go back to pen/pencil and paper for communications."

      I have a pile of damp wood, a blanket and some matches.

      I think owning and using matches is still legal.

      Coat. In case the blanket blows away. With a flint and steel in the pocket.

    3. Syntax Error

      Re: They can't snoop it you don't use the device

      Trouble is have a beer or five and first four will soon be forgotten.

  11. Forget It

    Peer-to-peer onboard?

    Theoretically mobile phones can connect peer-to-peer

    Ancient link:

    http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/02/06/14/1941214/peer-to-peer-cell-phones

    but it's not in the commercial world's / NSA's interest to perfect it for us

    1. phil dude
      Thumb Up

      Re: Peer-to-peer onboard?

      i recently had the thought of mesh computing becoming a movement. In London, you can't move for Wifi connections, so perhaps it is simply a question of population density. It is not an easy problem, though computing becomes ever denser...

      Of course, it doesn't hurt the surveillance to have centralised and "slow" connections....

      I'll openly admit that I think Google is in it for the money, but they are stirring up a hornets nest, with their 1Gbps home service.

      I'll repeat my hope that if *everyone* had 1 Gbps, what would the world look like? Of course, that depends if it is private or not....

      P.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: Peer-to-peer onboard?

        The quote people whip out all the time about never underestimating your enemy has two more components in its proper form. Like most things, knowing only part of something, and attempting to apply it for an advantage, is more dangerous than complete ignorance of the issue.

        Tzu, incorrectly, often gets credit for the concept, but what it breaks down to is: 'Giving your enemy any more or any less consideration than warranted is to expose your vulnerabilities and sacrifice any opportunity for the attack. The opposing force is not the enemy, pride and fear are the enemies of the general. These enemies force a perpetual defensive posture from which lost ground can never be regained. Only through the clear lens of reality may the general see the true path to victory, all other paths lead to defeat. Remove from your ranks those who would plant the seeds of fear and nourish them with baseless rumors and dark whispers of defeat. Remove from your ranks those would forget their station as mortals and place their trust in the trappings of wealth as they will surely destroy you as completely as the sword of your enemy.'

        In other words don't go making up troubles or ignoring them. Identify the enemy's weakness and strike and what lives and breathes, not the stuff of nightmares, but other men who can be defeated if you recognize them for what they truly are.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Peer-to-peer onboard?

          Thing is, did Sun Tzu ever have to consider the unlikely but still realistic possibility of a surprise attack of such devastating effect that it can constitute an existential threat? Sure it's easy to be paralyzed by fear, but human instinct tends to overrule much anything else when it's "the one that'll kill you": even more so when it's "the one that'll destroy your land, if not the entire world."

  12. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Lost in the New News Space and the NEUKlearer Live Operational Virtual Environment

    And the sad old BBC is called out for what it is nowadays by Greenwald ...... http://rt.com/news/greenwald-snowden-nsa-hackers-conference-889/

    Does that then extraordinarily render the Corporation an enemy of the people and state if it hosts and pimps and pumps that which disguises and avoids the truth at great cost ...... and in so doing seeks to present a false reality which has been planned to deliver personal crusades and private business ventures?

    And the answer to those questions are ... Yes, most definitely.

  13. Bob Hoskins
    Mushroom

    Booom!!!!

    A reasonable sized bomb / missile should take care of the NSA.

    1. DasBub

      Re: Booom!!!!

      Well, no, it couldn't. NSA consists of more than a single cube at Fort Meade. You may take out a lot of analysts, management, processing equipment, and communications links, but: most collection is done off-site; analysts and processing equipment are stationed all over the world; contingency procedures exist; other intelligence agencies - domestic and allied, military and civilian - could provide collection and analysis coverage in time of crisis.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Re: Booom!!!!

          Fair point. We'll start with GCHQ then. ... Bob Hoskins Posted Saturday 28th December 2013 17:48 GMT

          Err, hang on a mo, Bob H. There be those who realise events and would tell you that GCHQ make the snowballs that NSA fire and you surely wouldn't want to be buggering up the order of things, would you?

          Ok, yeah, now I see what you mean and hope to be doing. Carry on, squire. When things are so already truly buggered up, a change would be different and probably definitely more than just quite nice.

          Is it an Official State Secret to know that GCHQ invents intelligence product to driver the media presentations that communications relay to audio-visual receivers/dumb terminals/ignorant human beings ..... or does everyone know that is how IT works for Cyber Command and Virtual Remote Control of Everything? Or is that just a SMARTR App for Global Operating Devices in Live Operational Virtual Environments with Greater IntelAIgent Gamers?

          And what if it be both and something else too in Quantum Communication Control Systems ..... where AI is at ITs Work in REST and Play.

          1. Bob Hoskins

            Re: Booom!!!!

            What the FUCK?

      2. Vic

        Re: Booom!!!!

        You may take out a lot of analysts, management, processing equipment, and communications links

        May I?

        Ooh, thank you!

        Vic.

  14. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Gimp

    " obsessed..." "little crevice on the planet where some forms of communication may be taking place"

    That's not a security organisation.

    That's a data fetishist.

  15. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Change you can Believe in for IT is Real and Virtually Controlled and thus Untouchable, ....

    .... but IT can be a'fiddled with graciously and gracefully and gratuitously too for all the right reasons, of course, to satisfy humans. I Kid U Not :-)

    A Future Celebration for the New Year, El Reg. And some valuable insider trading information outed to spook and flash crash crooked ponzi markets?

    Is it an Official State Secret to know that GCHQ invents intelligence product to driver the media presentations that communications relay to audio-visual receivers/dumb terminals/ignorant human beings ..... or does everyone know that is how IT works for Cyber Command and Virtual Remote Control of Everything? Or is that just a SMARTR App for Global Operating Devices in Live Operational Virtual Environments with Greater IntelAIgent Gamers?

    That statement to an inquiry would have one enabled and able to presume and assume that Global Communications Head Quarters deliver Official State Secret produce for seeding and feeding of need to Official Secret States via Remote SMARTR App Control of Networks in Command of the Live Operational Virtual Environment and AI and the Greater IntelAIgent Games Field.

    And that be a little something that Secret Intelligence Services provide to nations internationally for their own CyberIntelAIgent Security and Virtual Protection from NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActive IT Misuse and Abuse and Wanton Use, for that is ITs Immaculate Temptation with the Stickiest of Sweet Honey to Trap All Saints and Sinners who be so Lost and Deliciously Fallen into IntelAIgent Community Enterprise Spaces.

    And more than a tad or three or four way above the pay grade of a Sub-Prime Puppet Prime Minister or Renegade President, a Pantomime Parliament or a Conspiring Congress, or a Rifkind or a Vaz or a Chilcot type, methinks, who be just as media manipulated bit players to the gallery and fanatics on the bleachers until they rebel and present the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, which apparently be a revolutionary act. How very odd.

  16. Aoyagi Aichou

    Too bad he (Snowden) didn't mention some specific reasons or examples why privacy is so important. It's very clear that a lot of people need that and are too lazy to do the research themselves.

    1. Don Jefe
      Unhappy

      The people who don't understand the issues in all this are the same people who would sacrifice the rights of all for the illusion of safety. Those people are already lost, they have freely given away the very things they are scared to lose.

      The best we can hope for is that those people cower quietly behind their imaginary walls and don't venture out to destroy the rest of us in a flawed attempt to protect themselves.

  17. Tank boy

    Snowden has been out of loop for so long, any information, if any of it was legit in the first place, is well past it's expiration date.

  18. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    "NSA conducts all of its activities in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies – and assertions to the contrary do a grave disservice to the nation, its allies and partners, and the men and women who make up the National Security Agency"

    Here you see how much the country has grown under President Obama. Under President -C-h-e-n-e-y- Bush this statement would have read "Why do you hate America?"

    8o/

  20. Whiznot

    Every breath you take

    Every move you make

    Every bond you break

    Every step you take

    I'll be watching you.

    Every single day

    Every word you say

    Every game you play

    Every night you stay

    I'll be watching you.

    Oh can't you see

    You belong to me?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That song always creeped me out a bit.

      1. FunkyEric

        Sting has always creeped me out a bit.

        There, fixed that for you :-)

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