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+ - Ukrainian Government Attempts Censorship Through Intimidation By Text->

aeranvar writes: The Ukraine government's text message to protestors is a sharp reminder of what can be done with the data collected through government surveillance. Whether the protestors have a legitimate concern or not is irrelevant. This seems to be a clear attempt by the government to intimidate protestors into dispersing through using personal technology as both the means of surveillance and the delivery mechanism for an implied threat. This clearly undermines a motivation for large protests: it isn't easy to intimidate someone in a crowd. because it isn't easy to identify everyone in a crowd. When government surveillance efforts are described as 'Orwellian', critics are quick to dismiss those descriptions as a fringe, extremist perception. At what hypothetical point (possibly a point we've already passed) should every rational individual be able to agree that government surveillance has gone too far?
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Comment: Re:Where are they? (Score 1) 324 324

Possibly. The scandal surrounding the interception of packages did mention the NSA partnering with the CIA. How difficult would it be to get a CIA operative inside of a mailing facility? I wouldn't imagine post offices would do detailed background checks on those involved in mail sorting or monitor their back accounts for bribes.

Comment: Re:Where are they? (Score 3, Insightful) 324 324

If an official from Russian, China, or Iran were to step forward saying that they had found one of the devices inserted into their machine... would anyone believe them? There's incentives for both the NSA and likely targets of the NSA to lie about this issue.

Comment: Re:Where are they? (Score 1) 324 324

This is speculation, but I bet this is some variant on the Cottonmouth model bug we saw a couple of weeks ago. How many people - even organizations like the Chinese military - are going to disassemble their USB cables and ports? If you're going to go to that far, you might as well build the device yourself out of off the shelf parts.

Comment: Re:Not enough, (Score 1) 415 415

The argument against this is that, to be guilty, one must have committed a crime. While Turing did break a law, breaking laws doesn't and shouldn't equate with committing crimes. People break laws all the time doing things that should not be considered a crime. There are all sorts of mitigating factors, including the mental state of the individual breaking the law and the justness of the law itself.

Imagine that you see a disoriented, elderly person in the street with a large truck inbound. You can break the law and save the elderly person by not making use of a cross walk, or you could let the elderly person get hit by a truck. What are you going to do? Probably save the person. Should you receive a ticket from the officer far enough away to see what happened but not to save the person himself? No, of course not. Despite the fact that you broke the law by not using a cross walk, you didn't commit any crime.

Comment: Re:As an American (Score 1) 248 248

I think it's important to remember that, in order for this movement to be successful, the entire surveillance apparatus needs to be dismantled - not just the US component of it. The US is a terrible offender when it comes to mass surveillance, but the UK is just as bad. If we also don't restrict the actions of the GCHQ and other entities, it would be pretty easy for the US to farm the intelligence work out to foreign countries by making sure that all communications are being routed overseas. It's easy to imagine a deal where the US and UK only collect metadata about foreign communications (which include UK communications rerouted through the US to make them foreign and US communications rerouted through the UK) with the intent of sharing that data in an intelligence partnership.

So... why am I not rioting? Well, I live in the middle of no where and there aren't enough of us TO riot. If I could have attended the anti-NSA protests in Washington, I would have... and I think this is a general problem with US protests. Our country is too large for large protests to be easy from a logistical prospective and the current protest movement hasn't addressed the logistics in the same way that former protest movements have.

Beyond that, I also think that the system fundamentally works. Call me crazy - and there are plenty that do - but I believe that voters still have the power to cause change. I can vote for leaders that will restrict the NSA's actions. Unfortunately, believing in the system means that there isn't much I can do when it comes to restricting the actions of the GCHQ. The best I can do is not give the UK my tourism, despite a life long dream of visiting London.

Comment: Re:Expect these claims to be walked back (Score 1) 698 698

I think there's real problem here when it comes to understanding the subject matter. I suspect the those pesky real journalists probably don't enough about the tech side of things to ask the questions they really need to be asking in order to debunk this.

Comment: Re:And they wonder why... (Score 1) 562 562

Well, there's a couple of technical problems with that. While I'm certainly not a lawyer, I have informally discussed the issue with a friend of mine that is a lawyer. He raised a few of the following points, which I've supplemented.

First, it's not clear that this is actually theft. The crime of theft typically denies the owner of the property access to the property, which isn't the case with electronic documents. Rather, it's more likely to be a violation of the No Electronic Theft (NET) act. NET criminalizes copyright infringement. This may not be a bad approach given what kind of punishments one sees for copyright infringement Massachusetts. More often, the punishment for copyright infringement is fines and I think the prosecutor was looking for jail time.

As far as breaking and entering goes, that seems doubtful. The networking closet he accessed was unlocked. In fact, a homeless man used the area to store belongings. Again, I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me that breaking and entering would be difficult to argue. Trespassing might be a more successful charge. Trespassing, though, is a relatively minor offense that's unlikely to produce a lengthy jail sentence.

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