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Comment Re:How dare they hack NY Times reporters! (Score -1, Troll) 61

So...it's NSA's fault when foreign intelligence services conduct espionage against US political parties, media organizations, etc., and actively try to influence the outcomes of US elections, and manipulate the opinions of US citizens? You realize that no matter who wins in November, possibly millions of Americans will believe the election was stolen or rigged, and possibly by foreign influence?

I know, I know -- in this crowd, the US is the enemy, here, and we don't actually need to have any kind of foreign intelligence capability; NSA's sole purpose for being is to figure out ways to illegally spy on Americans so it can solidify the power base of shadowy elites. Or something. Whenever I need to be reminded of just how out of touch many people are with history, reality, or both, I read Slashdot comments.

Comment No. This is an unprecedented shit in nothing. (Score 0, Flamebait) 983

It is a remotely-controlled device, jury rigged for a purpose that is not at all its use.

I know people will become uncontrollably outraged about this, but it's a standoff weapon. Just like a spear, a bow and arrow, an explosive tossed through a door or window, a gun, or even a vehicle employed as a weapon.

The legal standard for lethal force is the same. Beware of academics or other commentators who will claim this is some kind of new territory for which there is no legal standard and that we have no idea how to approach.

But by all means: pretend this is an "Unprecedented Shift in Policing" instead of an improvisation under nightmarish circumstances.

Submission + - Prominent civil liberties expert says he and Snowden were wrong on NSA 1

An anonymous reader writes: Last week, Geoffrey Stone, a longtime civil liberties stalwart, Constitutional scholar at the University of Chicago, and member of the National Advisory Council of the American Civil Liberties Union, moderated a live discussion with Edward Snowden from Russia. As a member of the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, Stone was given unfettered access to unfettered access to our national security apparatus, and told the NSA what he thought. This week, Stone offered more detail on his own findings that only someone with direct knowledge can provide: "So before I began the work on the review group, my general view was that, from what I learned in the media, the NSA had run amok and created these programs without appropriate approval or authorization or review. And whatever I thought of the merits of the programs, my assumption was that it was illegitimate because it didn't have appropriate review and approval. What surprised me the most was that this was completely wrong. [...] The more I worked with the NSA, the more respect I had for them as far as staying within the bounds of what they were authorized to do. And they were careful and had a high degree of integrity. My superficial assumption of the NSA being a bad guy was completely wrong. [...] I came to the view that they were well intentioned, that they were designed in fact to collect information for the purpose of ferreting out potential terrorist plots both in the U.S. and around the world and that was their design and purpose." Stone provided detail and examples, including rationale and justifications for the review group's findings, and concluded that Snowden "was unduly arrogant, didn't understand the limitations of his own knowledge and basically decided to usurp the authority of a democracy."

Comment Re:Last we will hear of that.... (Score 1) 255

I was referring to the iOS 7 device, which they can easily unlock/break (see Section I), but declined to do so this time (the EDNY case).

The combination of iOS 8/9 with iPhone 6 and newer (HW security enclave) is designed to not be able to be broken by Apple, even if it wanted to.

That's not to say that nothing is breakable, ever; it's all about the level of effort required and whether or not one can bypass the crypto altogether.

Comment Re:Last we will hear of that.... (Score 1) 255

No, the phone is running iOS 9 -- this is the San Bernardino phone. The phone running iOS 7 was the case in the Eastern District of New York -- which of course Apple's own law enforcement compliance statement says it will unlock when presented with a warrant, but I guess it didn't feel like it this time.

Comment Section 702: not "Americans" (Score 1) 49

Section 702 facilitates targeting and collection on non-US Persons outside the United States whose communications enters, traverses, or otherwise touches the United States, as over 70% of international internet traffic does, or as does any non-US Person outside the US using any US-based cloud or internet service.

Where US Persons come in is because US corporations and organizations are also "US Persons". But if we suddenly say that doing foreign intelligence collection on non-US Persons outside the US should require the same individualized warrant protections as Americans citizens living in the US, it absurdly turns the entire purpose and function of foreign intelligence collection on its head.

And if you already don't trust the government, you won't care about anything in this explanation anyway.

Comment Since this device is running iOS 7... (Score 2) 114

...I guess it's time for Apple to update its law enforcement compliance guide:

I. Extracting Data from Passcode Locked iOS Devices

[...]

For iOS devices running iOS versions earlier than iOS 8.0, upon receipt of a valid search warrant issued upon a showing of probable cause, Apple can extract certain categories of active data from passcode locked iOS devices. Specifically, the user generated active files on an iOS device that are contained in Appleâ(TM)s native apps and for which the data is not encrypted using the passcode (âoeuser generated active filesâ), can be extracted and provided to law enforcement on external media. Apple can perform this data extraction process on iOS devices running iOS 4 through iOS 7. Please note the only categories of user generated active files that can be provided to law enforcement, pursuant to a valid search warrant, are: SMS, iMessage, MMS, photos, videos, contacts, audio recording, and call history. Apple cannot provide: email, calendar entries, or any third-party app data.

Comment Re:Not a zero-sum game -- and not that simple (Score 1) 395

You again reiterated the false choice. I explained exactly why it is a false choice, and why some possible solutions, which may or may not be available under all circumstances, can address some of the problems without weakening crypto standards themselves, or weakening existing complete crypto systems. That you don't want to acknowledge this is so does not make it untrue. You are focused on backdoors, various key escrow solutions, and the like, and not on practical reality.

Comment Not a zero-sum game -- and not that simple (Score 1) 395

Liberty and Safety are not at two ends of a zero-sum sliding scale, wherein one must be sacrificed in discrete and equal units for the other. We can and should have a good measure of both, and it is government's charge to provide for the latter, while protecting (or, depending on your view, not infringing upon) the former. To say nothing of the fact that our very existence has been an exercise in the sacrifice of "liberty" for an orderly civil society governed by the rule of law, except in the fantasies of internet tech-libertarians.

And what a worthless survey: "warrantless surveillance" of what? Of who? Foreign intelligence targets do not require and never have required a warrant.

Gone are the days where the US targeted foreign communications on distant shores, or cracked codes used only by our enemies. No one would have questioned the legitimacy of the US and its allies breaking the German or Japanese codes or exploiting enemy communications equipment during WWII. The difference today is that US adversaries -- from terrorists to nation-states -- use many of the same systems, services, networks, operating systems, devices, software, hardware, cloud services, encryption standards, and so on, as Americans and much of the rest of the world. They use iPhones, Windows, Dell servers, Android tablets, Cisco routers, Netgear wireless access points, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Gmail, and so on.

The distinction is no longer the technology or the place, but the person(s) using a capability: the target. In a free society based on the rule of law, it is not the capability, but the law, that is paramount.

US adversaries use the very same technologies we use. The fact that Americans or others also use them does not suddenly or magically mean that no element of the US Intelligence Community should ever target them. When a terrorist in foreign country is using Hotmail or an iPhone instead of a walkie-talkie, that cannot mean we pack our bags and go home. That means that, within clear and specific legal authorities and duly authorized missions of the Intelligence Community, we aggressively pursue any and all possible avenues, within the law, that allow us to intercept and exploit the communications of foreign intelligence targets.

If they are using hand couriers, we target them. If they are using walkie-talkies, we target them. If they are using their own custom methods for protecting their communications, we target them. If they are using HF radios, VSATs, satellite phones, or smoke signals, we target them. If they are using Gmail, Facebook, iPhones, Android, SSL, web forums running on Amazon Web Services, etc., we target them -- within clear and specific legal frameworks that govern the way our intelligence agencies operate, including with regard to US Persons.

That doesn't mean it's always perfect; that doesn't mean things are not up for debate; that doesn't mean everyone will agree with every possible legal interpretation; that doesn't mean that some may fundamentally disagree with the US approach to, e.g., counterterrorism. But the intelligence agencies do not make the rules, and while we may inform issues, we do not define national policy or priorities.

And on backdoors, we don't need "backdoors".

What we do need is this:

A clear acknowledgment that what increasingly exists essentially amounts to a virtual fortress impenetrable by the legal mechanisms of free society, that many of those systems are developed and employed by US companies, and that US adversaries use those systems -- sometimes specifically and deliberately because they are in the US -- against the US and our allies, and for a discussion to start from that point.

The US has a clear and compelling interest in strong encryption, and especially in protecting US encryption systems used by our government, our citizens, and people around the world, from defeat. But the assumption that the only alternatives are either universal strong encryption, or wholesale and deliberate weakening of encryption systems and/or "backdoors", is a false dichotomy.

How is that so?

Encrypted communication has to be decrypted somewhere, in order for it to be utilized by the recipent. That fact can be exploited in various ways. It is done now. It's done by governments and cyber criminals and glorified script kiddies. US vendors could, in theory, be at least a partial aid in that process on a device-by-device basis, within clear and specific legal authorities, without doing anything like key escrow, wholesale weakening of encryption, or similar with regard to software or devices themselves.

When Admiral Michael Rogers, Director of the National Security Agency and Commander, US Cyber Command, says:

"My position is -- hey look, I think that we're lying that this isn't technically feasible. Now, it needs to be done within a framework. I'm the first to acknowledge that. You don't want the FBI and you don't want the NSA unilaterally deciding, so, what are we going to access and what are we not going to access? That shouldn't be for us. I just believe that this is achievable. We'll have to work our way through it. And I'm the first to acknowledge there are international implications. I think we can work our way through this." ...some believe that is code for, "We need backdoors." No. He means exactly what he says.

When US adversaries use systems and services physically located in the US, designed and operated by US companies, there are many things -- compatible with our law and with the Constitution -- that could be discussed, depending on the precise system, service, software, or device. Pretending that there is absolutely nothing that can be done, and it's either unbreakable, universal encryption for all, or nothing, is a false choice.

To pretend that it's some kind of "people's victory" when a technical system renders itself effectively impenetrable to the legitimate legal, judicial, and intelligence processes of democratic governments operating under the rule of law in free civil society is curious indeed.

Some ask why terrorists wouldn't just switch to something else.

That's a really easy answer -- terrorists use these simple platforms for the same reason normal people do: because they're easy to use. Obviously, a lot of our techniques and capabilities have been laid bare, but people use things like WhatsApp, iMessage, and Telegram because they're easy. It's the same reason that ordinary people -- and terrorists -- don't use Ello instead of Facebook, or ProtonMail instead of Gmail. And when people switch to more complicated, non-turnkey encryption solutions -- no matter how "simple" the more tech-savvy may think them -- they make mistakes that can render their communications security measures vulnerable to defeat.

Vendors and cloud providers may not always be able to provide assistance; but sometimes they can, given a particular target (device, platform, etc.), and they can do so in a way that comports with the rule of law in free society, doesn't require creating backdoors in encryption, doesn't require "weakening" their products, and doesn't violate the legal and Constitutional rights of Americans.

And of course, it would be nice if we were able to leverage certain capabilities against legitimate foreign intelligence targets without our targets and the entire world knowing exactly what we are doing, how, when, and why, so our enemies know exactly how to avoid it.

Secrecy is required for the successful conduct of intelligence operations, even in free societies.

"The necessity of procuring good Intelligence is apparent and need not be further urged -- all that remains for me to add, is, that you keep the whole matter as secret as possible. For upon Secrecy, Success depends in most Enterprises of the kind, and for want of it, they are generally defeated, however well planned and promising a favourable issue." â" George Washington, our nation's first spymaster, in a letter to Colonel Elias Dayton, 26 July 1777

Disclaimer: I'm a subscriber, so I see stories early.

Comment No. No limits on speech. But... (Score 2) 563

No. No limits on speech. That is exactly the wrong idea. But being on a CT watchlist if you're immersed in ISIS propaganda, and don't have a clear reason otherwise for doing so? Yep, that's gonna happen.

Problem with watchlists?

Quiz:

1. Should the government have the ability to keep ANY list(s), to include names and other attributes of people, for counterterrorism and intelligence purposes?

2. Should the government be able to watch non-protected aspects of a US Person suspected of terrorism, foreign intelligence ties, etc., without a warrant?

3. Should the government be able to watch protected aspects of a US Person suspected of terrorism, foreign intelligence ties, etc., with a warrant?

4. Can the government keep secret the fact that a US Person (or any other person) is on any CT watchlist and/or is subject of a CT/CI investigation?

5. Should the government be able to deprive a US Person of Constitutional rights without due process, or by virtue of appearance on a CT watchlist?

Answer key: 1. Yes. 2. Yes. 3. Yes. 4. Yes. 5. No.

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