Quote of the day—Golem XIV

There is a New Cold War but it is not like the old one. It is not country against country. It is the shadow state in every nation against its own people, with the collusion of an inner core within the regular State.

Golem XIV
July 3, 2013
NSA/GCHQ – The New Praetorians and the New Cold War
[He makes some good points.

I just wish someone had some solutions.—Joe]


10 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Golem XIV

  1. Well I think first things first, people need to start thinking about encrypting everything. Just for the simple purpose of making the monitoring techniques ineffective. If everyone started PGPing or S/MIMEing all of their emails (no matter how boring and mundane), then it is a waste of money to capture all emails. The only thing you can get at that point is metadata (to/from/subject).

    On the same not everyone should be doing high grade SSL on all their websites. I notice this blog runs in normal HTTP, it should be redirecting me to HTTPS when I hit it. Instead of looking at things like I need SSL cause I am doing e-commerce, we just do SSL on everything by default (for the same reasons).

    That helps on the internet front. On a financial front, start paying for everything in cash instead of credit / debit. Now they can’t build as much patterns about things you like to spend your money on. Consider doing more barter to rob the state of tax revenue. If you and I barter items of the same value there is no gain and no tax due and the less tax money the state has the less they can spend on monitoring.

    The real tough nut to crack is the tracking that can be done via cell phones. I am not sure I have a good answer for that.

    • You want to keep from being tracked by your cell phone? You can leave it behind, or turn it off and remove the battery. Otherwise, they can (and are) tracked. Push was originally so that 911 could locate the calling location. Now that the system is in place, it can (and is) used for all number of other things.
      But, it’s OK, only the “undesirables” and “criminals” need to worry about it…. /sarc

  2. I see no real defense against the world which we have enabled. Encryption only protects communications and farther more identifies you as having having something to hide.

    There is just too much other data that is recorded and stored. Combining all the data from the government, telecommunications, internet companies, and retail provides a very complete picture of your life. The USPS alone knows what mail and packages you send and receive. Amazon, Home Depot, Sears, Best Buy,… know item by item what you have purchased. Grocery stores know what you purchased. The financial companies know where your money comes from and how you spend it.

    I am not too worried about it today since it appears that only limited use is being made of the data (looking for terrorists), but with a simple change in policy it could easily be used to identify potential troublemakers, survivalists, hoarders, tax evaders, cheaters, gun owners, and …, allowing them to be targeted. The current search for terrorists is narrowly focused and mostly fruitless since it like looking for a needle in a haystack. Identifying potential troublemakers, … is much easier especially if you use a wide filter.

    • Re: paying with cash. I don’t think that this is a complete solution except between private parties. It does make it more difficult but not impossible to identify you. Like encryption it would serve to identify you as one who was not with the program. By combining data it would still help to identify you and your activities. For example, using parking lot cameras with license plate software, the owners database, and who paid with credit or debit, it would be fairly easy to identify cash paying customers by name. Then by correlating what you purchased with who you are identify your specific purchase. For example if you have toddlers and purchased diapers and infant formula. Correlating over multiple purchases increases the probability of identifying you.

      • Currently working to get all of our debt paid off, and go to straight-up cash transactions wherever possible. Sure, the .gov can probably still extrapolate my purchases regardless of what medium I use to pay with, but going straight cash has several benefits: 1) myself, my wife, and my daughter will not be in debt (ie, slavery) to anyone, and 2) even if they can extrapolate my purchases, why make it easy for them? If the .gov is that interested in what we bought at the supermarket, they’re gonna have to effin’ work for it. Now…if more people were to get out of debt and go back to cash transactions, the odds of the .gov correctly identifying my purchase amongst hundreds of other cash transactions at that particular grocery store that day get long, indeed. So….want to screw the .gov? Get out of debt, start paying cash as much as possible, and get others to do the same.

        • The grocery stores give you loyalty cards and discounts and they can track you through those — unless you plan to give up all your discounts.

  3. Too bad there is no sensible way to encrypt cellphone conversations. I’ve looked, but it seems the phone companies have locked up the voice part of phones away from the programmable “smartphone” core, so you can’t fix this. Not without some hacking into that part of the machinery, which I’ve seen documented in a book I saw in a bookstore but foolishly didn’t buy then, and haven’t been able to locate since.

    • Encrypting your phone calls requires that the number you are calling must also have the means to encrypt along with the keys you are using. Even if you could make this work you are making making yourself a target (why are you using encryption?)

      Furthermore using encryption only hides your content. It does not hide the metadata nor does it hide all the other data that can be correlated to provide a complete picture of you and your activities.

      As to your cell phone you should think of it as your own personal private detective following you around, only it is not working for you. It knows where you are, where you have been, who called you, who you called, what messages you sent or received, and more.

      • About 15 years ago, John Gilmore funded the first open source implementation of IPSec, with the express goal of “ubiquitous encryption”. It worked well but didn’t quite become ubiquitous. It still could. The whole idea is that, if enough people encrypt all the time, the bad guys can no longer draw meaningful conclusions from the fact that you’re encrypting.
        Similarly, an ideal cell phone encryptor would be free and very easy to use, so lots of people would use it. I don’t know yet if it’s technically feasible, but as soon as it is, I’d be interested in making it real.

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