Welcome to the Police State

Where the press does the bidding of the government (at the Dems in power), and your phone company spies for the .gov as well. AT&T reportedly spies on its customers for government cash

The Daily Beast is reporting that the telco has essentially turned itself into a spy-for-hire in the pay of the government. According to the piece, the company’s Project Hemisphere is providing warrantless surveillance, thanks to some legal gray areas, that score it millions of dollars from taxpayers.

And no one seems to care.

The Broken Whistle-blower System in the US Government 

You could also entitle this, “Why Snowden Was Right to Leave the US.” Ex-US Official Reveals Risks Faced By Internal Govt. Critics – SPIEGEL ONLINE

Though Snowden figures prominently, this is really the story of Thomas Drake, and John Crane. They were two other whistle-blowers in the intelligence community, and they were destroyed because they thought the .gov should have to obey the law. (Though Snowden is more quotable than either of them.)

There are no incentives for people to stand up against an agency on the wrong side of the law today, and that’s got to change.

The article details 2 whistle-blowers in the US government – specifically in the intelligence community. And while they were both right – the .gov was wasting BILLIONS of taxpayer money spying on US citizens – the cover-up ended their careers and eliminated their pensions.

“When I was at NSA, everybody knew that for anything more serious than workplace harassment, going through the official process was a career-ender at best. It’s a part of the culture,” Snowden told SPIEGEL and the Guardian when asked about the Crane case. “If your boss in the mail room lies on his time sheets, the inspector general might look into it. But if you’re Thomas Drake, and you find out the president of the United States ordered the warrantless wiretapping of everyone in the country, what’s the inspector general going to do? They’re going to flush it — and you with it.”

Spiegel likes the current US President, but the undertones are clear; Obama is suffering from the same disease that Nixon had. (If the President does it, then it isn’t illegal.) And they stated – up front – that Obama is just plain wrong when he says Snowden could have “worked within the system.” They system would have chewed him up and spit him out – after 35 years in prison.

Don’t expect to see the US media cover this. It might tip the election in a way they don’t like.

Snowden gets the last word.

Even today, he says, there isn’t a single whistleblower from the intelligence community whose disclosures didn’t lead to retaliation.

“Alexa, tell the Feds where the bodies are buried.”

More FBI Spying. The FBI Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny Wiretapping The Amazon Echo. Are you surprised? Then you haven’t been paying attention.

In many ways the Echo is a law enforcement dream. Imagine if you could go back in time and tell police that one day people would willingly put microphones in their own homes that, with a little hacking, could be heard from anywhere in the world 24/7.

And it isn’t clear that warrants are being obtained. Fourth Amendment? What is that?

Welcome to the Panoptican.

(The history of FBI hacking – which goes back farther than you may think – can be found at this link.)

Everybody Hates Feinstein and Burr’s Anti-encryption Bill

It will destroy a whole lot of things. Like any hope of security. Tech coalitions pen open letter to Burr and Feinstein over bill banning encryption | TechCrunch

The Venn Diagram tells the story.

It goes on to point out “unintended consequences” such as compromised security being compromised for bad actors as well as good, and also that any national attempt to hamper the operation of a global industry is foolish and bound to fail and, in failing, damage the reputation and economy of the U.S. (I’m paraphrasing).

RSA Cryptographers’ Panel – Privacy vs Mass Surveillance

Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman (The 2 people responsible for public key encryption), Moxie Marlinspike (Founder of Open Whisper Systems – the providers of some easy-to-use rock-solid secure communications), and Ronald Rivest and Avi Shamir (two university professors) discuss the current state and the future of cryptography.

They cover Apple vs the FBI. The future of cryptography in the face of quantum computing, and a few other things. They don’t all agree on all things. With a fair bit of NSA bashing along the way. And yes it is fairly techie at times. 47 minutes or so.

(Whitfield Diffie looks like Gandalf – or that’s the comment that Leo Laporte made on the latest episode of Security Now.)

Your Thermostat is Spying On You. (And your light bulbs, fridge, etc.)

As if smart phones weren’t enough… US intelligence chief: we might use the internet of things to spy on you | Technology | The Guardian

“In the future, intelligence services might use the [internet of things] for identification, surveillance, monitoring, location tracking, and targeting for recruitment, or to gain access to networks or user credentials,” [James Clapper, the US director of national intelligence,] said.

Because your security is not important to corporations. And maybe not even to you.

In Orwell’s 1984 the televisions spied on the population. Now it is going to be everything in the house.

For a video describing this, and a few other security issues, see this week’s Threat Wire.

So is this a way to strip women of 2nd Amendment rights?

Probably. Screen pregnant women, new moms for depression, task force recommends – CNN.com

Have you felt down a lot in the last couple of weeks? How often have you felt tired or felt as if you couldn’t concentrate?

I feel tired every day before I go to bed. And I find it impossible to concentrate on anything until I’ve had a cup of coffee in the morning. Does this mean I’m depressed? I don’t think so. (Couldn’t that also describe narcolepsy?)

And when did General Practice doctors, Ob-Gyns, and Pediatricians get certified in psychology?

We generally think of doctors as being smarter than the average bear, and I know many who are, but I also know a couple of people from college who became MDs I wouldn’t trust as far as I could throw them outside of their narrow specialty.