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The US government has betrayed the internet. We need to take it back

The US government has betrayed the internet. We need to take it back
Government and industry have betrayed the internet, and us. By subverting the internet at every level to make it a vast, multi-layered and robust surveillance platform, the NSA has undermined a fundamental social contract. The companies that build and manage our internet infrastructure, the companies that create and sell us our hardware and software, or the companies that host our data: we can no longer trust them to be ethical internet stewards. This is not the internet the world needs, or the internet its creators envisioned. We need to take it back. And by we, I mean the engineering community. Yes, this is primarily a political problem, a policy matter that requires political intervention. But this is also an engineering problem, and there are several things engineers can – and should – do. One, we should expose. We need to know how exactly how the NSA and other agencies are subverting routers, switches, the internet backbone, encryption technologies and cloud systems. Related:  Citizen reactions

Des milliers de citoyens allemands montrent l’exemple en manifestant contre la surveillance de la NSA Des milliers de manifestants ont participé samedi à Berlin à une manifestation pour dénoncer les atteintes à la vie privée, notamment par la surveillance des télécommunications par les services secrets comme l’agence américaine NSA. Le collectif d’organisations qui avait appelé à manifester sous le slogan «la liberté plutôt que la peur» – parmi lesquels figurent les Verts, le parti de gauche radicale Die Linke et le parti Pirate -, a revendiqué 20 000 manifestants. La police de Berlin a toutefois refusé de commenter ce chiffre ou de donner une estimation, se bornant à dire que ses «méthodes de comptabilisation sont différentes de celles des organisateurs». Dans le cortège, on pouvait voir des pancartes aux messages clairs comme «Arrêtez de nous espionner!» ou à l’ironie mordante comme : «Merci Prism (le programme d’espionnage mené par l’agence américaine NSA), grâce à toi le gouvernement sait enfin ce que veut la population».

N.S.A. Able to Foil Basic Safeguards of Privacy on Web The agency has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption, or digital scrambling, that guards global commerce and banking systems, protects sensitive data like trade secrets and medical records, and automatically secures the e-mails, Web searches, Internet chats and phone calls of Americans and others around the world, the documents show. Many users assume — or have been assured by Internet companies — that their data is safe from prying eyes, including those of the government, and the N.S.A. wants to keep it that way. The agency treats its recent successes in deciphering protected information as among its most closely guarded secrets, restricted to those cleared for a highly classified program code-named Bullrun, according to the documents, provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor. Beginning in 2000, as encryption tools were gradually blanketing the Web, the N.S.A. invested billions of dollars in a clandestine campaign to preserve its ability to eavesdrop.

Of course compulsory voting is a good thing | Van Badham Australia is one of only 10 countries in the world that enforce compulsory voting, and one of only two majority-English-speaking countries to do so, alongside our neighbour Singapore. It's a policy that activates loud bleating of complaint from the neo-libertarian crowd. Their opposition to compulsory voting is usually expressed in the identical vocabulary of waaaaaaaaaaah as their resistance to wearing seatbelts, educating their children with other people's children, not plastering stores' shelves with titty-porn, and being told they really shouldn't smoke in front of a baby. Compulsory voting is also opposed by politicians keen to attack it for partisan advantage. Liberals of Minchin's ilk have realpolitik reasons to campaign against compulsory voting. The voters who tend to vanish are, of course, poor, isolated, minimally educated, sick, low-paid, casualised or vulnerable. In the same vein, this week the US state of North Carolina passed "the mother of all voter suppression bills".

Stop Watching Us | Stop Watching Us Revealed: how US and UK spy agencies defeat internet privacy and security | World news | Guardian Weekly US and British intelligence agencies have successfully cracked much of the online encryption relied upon by hundreds of millions of people to protect the privacy of their personal data, online transactions and emails, according to top-secret documents revealed by former contractor Edward Snowden. The files show that the National Security Agency and its UK counterpart GCHQ have broadly compromised the guarantees that internet companies have given consumers to reassure them that their communications, online banking and medical records would be indecipherable to criminals or governments. The agencies, the documents reveal, have adopted a battery of methods in their systematic and ongoing assault on what they see as one of the biggest threats to their ability to access huge swathes of internet traffic – "the use of ubiquitous encryption across the internet". But security experts accused them of attacking the internet itself and the privacy of all users.

JEP (27,3) p. 103 - Why Hasn't Democracy Slowed Rising Inequality? Article Citation Bonica, Adam, Nolan McCarty, Keith T. Poole, and Howard Rosenthal. 2013. "Why Hasn't Democracy Slowed Rising Inequality?" DOI: 10.1257/jep.27.3.103 Abstract During the past two generations, democratic forms have coexisted with massive increases in economic inequality in the United States and many other advanced democracies. Article Full-Text Access Full-text Article (Complimentary) Authors Bonica, Adam (Stanford U) McCarty, Nolan (Princeton U) Poole, Keith T. JEL Classifications D31: Personal Income, Wealth, and Their DistributionsD63: Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and MeasurementD72: Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting BehaviorH23: Taxation and Subsidies: Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies Comments

Ontario Privacy Watchdog Is Not Amused With The NSA (VIDEO) Ontario's privacy watchdog delivered a scathing indictment of the NSA's efforts to circumvent internet encryption standards. Ann Cavoukian, Ontario's Information and Privacy Commissioner, released a YouTube video Friday after The New York Times, in collaboration with The Guardian and ProPublica, reported that the U.S. National Security Agency has successfully "circumvented or cracked much of the encryption, or digital scrambling, that guards global commerce and banking systems, protects sensitive data like trade secrets and medical records, and automatically secures the e-mails, Web searches, Internet chats and phone calls of Americans and others around the world." Cavoukian takes issue with governments devoting so many resources to getting around encryption. Cavoukian then argues that we need greater transparency and accountability regarding government surveillance. With files from previous stories. Also on HuffPost:

NSA surveillance: how to stay secure | Bruce Schneier | World news Now that we have enough details about how the NSA eavesdrops on the internet, including today's disclosures of the NSA's deliberate weakening of cryptographic systems, we can finally start to figure out how to protect ourselves. For the past two weeks, I have been working with the Guardian on NSA stories, and have read hundreds of top-secret NSA documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden. I wasn't part of today's story – it was in process well before I showed up – but everything I read confirms what the Guardian is reporting. At this point, I feel I can provide some advice for keeping secure against such an adversary. The primary way the NSA eavesdrops on internet communications is in the network. Leveraging its secret agreements with telecommunications companies – all the US and UK ones, and many other "partners" around the world – the NSA gets access to the communications trunks that move internet traffic. TAO also hacks into computers to recover long-term keys. Trust the math.

“One day, son, our votes may count” | Without Leukemia (You can also read this post at the permanent home of my blog, One of the things that distracts me from what I might otherwise be writing is the political situation in Canada. I have always been a politically engaged sort of person. In recent years, however, even I have started to tune out from Federal and, to a lesser extent, Provincial politics. I have resigned myself to the fact that until there is a change to our electoral system that allows citizens’ real choices to be reflected in parliament, my energy is best spent elsewhere. The energy I do manage to muster is directed to supporting and encouraging the efforts of the Green Party of Canada, the party most consistently supportive of reform, and Fair Vote Canada. For the first time, electoral reform is getting some serious attention. Take my riding, for example. Now, of course, the Conservative zombies are entitled to vote for whomever they choose; more power to them.