Article 43

 

Privacy And Rights

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Propaganda American Style

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“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”
- Malcolm X

How the NDAA Allows US Gov to Use Propaganda Against Americans

By Susanne Posel
Occupy Corporatism
July 22, 2013

The US government has unbound the legal regulations against using propaganda against foreign audiences and American citizens. The intention is to sway public opinion by using TELEVISION, radio, newspapers, and social media targeting the American and foreign people in controlled psy-ops.

The newest version of the NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT (NDAA) has an amendment added that negates the SMITH-MUNDT ACT OF 1948 (SMA) and the Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 1987.

These laws made propaganda used to influence foreigners and US citizens illegal. Without these laws, disinformation could run rampant throughout our information junkets.

This amendment added to the NDAA has passed into implementation as of this month.

SMA defines the prohibition of domestic access to influence information through a variety of means, from broadcast to publishing of books, media, and online sources by restricting the State Department.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors was created from SMA. This agency claims to inform, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. They omit that their specialty is making sure propaganda is added to the informational flow we all depend on.

The amendment sanctions the US government, without restriction, the use of any mode of message to control how we perceive our world.

As of now, the level of propaganda in the MAINSTREAM MEDIA (MSM) is quite high, with all of our television, printed media and internet sites associated with MSM OWNED BY ONLY 5 corporations.

Without these laws, the lies purveyed as truth to foreigners would find their way to our doorsteps as a purposeful operation enacted by our government. And in the name of national security, the US government could, and probably would, disseminate misinformation to gain public support for otherwise decidedly deplorable actions.

Amendment 114 of the NDAA was approved by the House in May of 2012.

The Smith-Mundt Modernization Act (2012) reads:

Sec. 501. (a) The Secretary and the Broadcasting Board of Governors are authorized to use funds appropriated or otherwise made available for public diplomacy information programs to provide for the preparation, dissemination, and use of information intended for foreign audiences abroad about the United States, its people, and its policies, through press, publications, radio, motion pictures, the Internet, and other information media, including social media, and through information centers, instructors, and other direct or indirect means of communication.

(b)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), the Secretary and the Broadcasting Board of Governors may, upon request and reimbursement of the reasonable costs incurred in fulfilling such a request, make available, in the United States, motion pictures, films, video, audio, and other materials prepared for dissemination abroad or disseminated abroad.

According to Michael Hastings : The new law would give sweeping powers to the State Department and Pentagon to push television, radio, newspaper, and social media onto the U.S. public. ӓIt removes the protection for Americans, says a Pentagon official who is concerned about the law. ԓIt removes oversight from the people who want to put out this information. There are no checks and balances. No one knows if the information is accurate, partially accurate, or entirely false.

Representatives Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and Adam Smith (D-WA) in the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act (2012) (H.R. 5736), advocate that it is time to liberate the authority of the US government to broadcast American produced foreign propaganda in the U.S.

The amendment, which was hidden within the NDAA, has remained relatively unnoticed. However, it empowers the State Department and Pentagon to utilize all forms of media against the American public for the sake of coercing US citizens to believe whatever version of the truth the US government wants them to believe.

All oversight is removed with AMENDMENT 114. Regardless of whether the information disseminated is truthful, partially truthful or completely false bears no weight.

Thornberry believes that with the use of the internet by terrorist groups like al-Qaeda, the federal government needs to have the freedom to circulate their own propaganda to combat terrorism effectively.

“I just dont want to see something this significant whatever the pros and cons go through without anyone noticing,” says one source on the Hill, who is disturbed by the law. According to this source, the law would allow U.S. propaganda intended to influence foreign audiences to be used on the domestic population.֓

Four billion dollars per year is spent by the Pentagon on propaganda aimed at the American public; as well as $202 million spent by the Department of Defense on misinformation operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2011.

Currently, the Pentagon is using SOCK PUPPET (fake handles) on social media sites to purvey false information, harass users and enact psy-ops to influence Americans.

A California corporation is working with the US Central Command (CENTCOM) in spreading propaganda overseas. They provide online persona “management service” that allows active duty military to set up an estimated 10 different false identities that are used worldwide.

Each fake persona comes complete with a background history and safeties to prevent “sophisticated adversaries” from discovering the lie.

CENTCOM spokesman Commander Bill Speaks said: “The technology supports classified blogging activities on foreign-language websites to enable CENTCOM to counter violent extremist and enemy propaganda outside the US.”

Sophisticated software allows military to engage in online conversations with coordinated answers, blog comments and instant messaging remarks that are solely meant to spread pro-American propaganda.

US Army whistleblower, Lieutenant Col. Daniel Davis believes there is a definitive aspiration within the US government to enable Public Affairs officers to influence American public opinion when they deem it necessary to “protect a key friendly center of gravity,” to wit US national will.

Edward Bernays would be proud.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 08/01/15 •
Section Revelations • Section Privacy And Rights • Section Dying America
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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Democracy Hollowed Out Part 31 - Net Neutrality Dies

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Internet Censorship 2013

Nine years ago Al Gore made a couple of GOOD POINTS about an open internet:

We must ensure that the Internet remains open and accessible to all citizens without any limitation on the ability of individuals to choose the content they wish regardless of the Internet service provider they use to connect to the Worldwide Web.

...in order to reclaim our birthright, we Americans must resolve to repair the systemic decay of the public forum and create new ways to engage in a genuine and not manipulative conversation about our future.

Since then, CISPA and SOPA tried to take away net neutrality.  Those initiatives have had LIMITED SUCCESS, until yesterday.  More on that below.

Al’s other point about open forums deserves equal attention.

Today, I write at a lot of places, and increasingly after opening dialogues about the poor, unemployed, unchecked corporatism, or direction this country is going in - posts are met with indifference, invalidation, and downright hostility.

But the worst and scariest thing over 2013 has been how posts I made on political forums of members of the US Government - have been deleted, and me banned from their sites.

ITS ONE THING that people would rather distance themselves from things they DON’T WANT TO DEAL WITH, but when the Facebook page of a US Congressman contains no other posts but his one-sided rhetoric, and praises from his followers, because everything else was censored out - we passed ANOTHER MILESTONE in the squelching of free expression and open communication.

The internet has become as bad as TV - a one sided pulpit for politicians to spew their propaganda - not an open forum.

Can it get worse?

Yes.

Internet Censorship 2014

Save the Intenet REPORTS:

On Jan. 14, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., struck down the Federal Communications Commissions Open Internet Order. In other words, Net Neutrality is dead (for now).

Wired TELLS US:

“Without high-level rules of the road, or other replacement high-level rules, the broadband carriers are free to discriminate and block content from consumers,” Chris Lewis, a vice president at digital rights group Public Knowledge, said in a telephone interview.

And the Huffington Post URGES US:

Now, just as Verizon promised it would in court, the biggest broadband providers will race to turn the open and vibrant Web into something that looks like cable TV—where they pick and choose the channels for you. They’ll establish fast lanes for the few giant companies that can afford to pay exorbitant tolls and reserve the slow lanes for everyone else.

We need strong protections and sensible policies to ensure the Internet continues to thrive and prosper. But to make that happen the millions of people who have fought for Net Neutrality—and the millions more who have rallied against Web-censorship bills like SOPA/PIPA and outrages like the NSA’s unchecked spying and surveillance—rise up like never before.

Together we can fight back against these greedy Internet service providers. We can save the Internet we love. But we have to act now.

I’m talking about the United States, NOT THE USSR or GREAT FIREWALL of CHINA.

Posted by Elvis on 01/15/14 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Broadband Privacy • Section Dying America
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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My Leaked Apple Email Address

The mail logs gleaned some interesting stuff today.

A few SPAMS ALLEGEDLY FROM AMERICAN EXPRESS were sent to my apple store email address.

The alarming part is that email address is used only for purchases from the APPLE STORE.

Until now I guess.

Jan 14 11:32:16 sendmail[17633]: xxx: from=<AmericanExpress@welcome.aexp.com>, size=13616, class=0, nrcpts=1, msgid=<yyy@mymailserver>, proto=ESMTP, daemon=MTA, relay=[5.239.152.216]

Jan 14 11:32:20 spamd[30436]: spamd: result: Y 8 RCVD_ILLEGAL_IP, RCVD_IN_HOSTKARMA_BL, RCVD_IN_PSBL, RDNS_NONE scantime=4.8, size=14223, rhost=mymailserver,raddr=127.0.0.1, rport=12345, mid=<yyy@mymailserver>, tests=RCVD_ILLEGAL_IP, RCVD_IN_HOSTKARMA_BL, RCVD_IN_PSBL, RDNS_NONE

Jan 14 11:32:20 sendmail[17633]: xxx: to=<my-apple-store-email-address>

The question is how did that email address get shared?

Was it sold/given away, was somebody’s database broken into, or did PHISHERS find it by accident?

Better check that credit card.

Posted by Elvis on 01/14/14 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Broadband Privacy
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Saturday, October 05, 2013

Google Browser Spy Cam

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Google Switches On Browser Spy Cam in Chrome

By Paul Wagenseil
Tech News Daily
August 1, 2013

Google’s frequent Chrome browser updates are rarely exciting, but one new feature built into the latest version ought to wake you up.

Chrome 21, RELEASED July 31, fully implements WebRTC (for “real-time communication"), a new standard that lets websites and Web applications use your computer’s camera and microphone - all the better to see and hear you with, of course.

Previously, websites and apps had to use browser plug-ins such as ADOBE FLASH PLAYER or Microsoft Silverlight for audio and video interaction with the user.

WebRTC leverages the powers of HTML5, the next generation of code underlying the Web, to build multimedia features directly into the browser. Google’s Chrome blog already points to a couple of fun sites that let you TAKE YOUR PICTURE with the browser or PLAY A VIRTUAL XYLOPHONE.

That all sounds great, but there doesn’t seem to be any way to disable WebRTC in Chrome 21.

An email seeking clarification from Google was not immediately returned.

“This is a standard JavascriptAPI [application-platform interface], and just like other Javascriptcomponents cannot be enabled/disabled by itself,” said Johannes Ullrich, chief technical officer at the SANS Technology Institute’s Internet Storm Center. “You would have to compile your own custom version of Chrome.”

Chrome requires websites and apps to ask the USER’S PERMISSION to access the camera and microphone. Yet any good hacker will tell you it’s just a matter of time before someone finds a way around that and uses WebRTC to have an unauthorized look at what people are doing in front of their computers.

To be fair, WebRTC may not be any less secure than what it’s replacing.

“The risk isn’t really larger than having Flash installed (of course, more and more people disable or do not install Flash),” Ullrich told SecurityNewsDaily via email. “Flash already had the ability to access the camera and microphone, and had some vulnerabilities that allowed websites to trick the user into ENABLING THE CAMERA/MICROPHONE VIA CLICKJACKING.”

Besides Chrome, only the forward-looking Opera browser has implemented WebRTC. Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer are working on including it in future versions.

Chrome users concerned about their privacy can’t simply refuse to update to Chrome 21, because Chrome automatically updates itself. (For the technically skilled, there are ways to turn automatic updating off.)

If you’re worried, put black tape over your Webcam when you’re not using it. If you’re using a desktop PC, there may be a way to disconnect the built-in microphone.

Chrome 21 also FIXED 26 different, mostly moderate, security flaws. The single one rated “critical” is related to a tab-handling issue found only in the Linux version of the browser.

Most of the other flaws apply to all versions of Chrome, and are rated as “low” to “high” threats.

UPDATE: A spokeswoman for Google told SecurityNewsDaily in an email, “We are working closely with the W3C [World Wide Web Consortium] to ensure there is a high standard of security and transparency with the GetUserMedia API [which enables WebRTC in Chrome], including ensuring the user is in control of whether and how media is used, and to make any usage transparent through in-product notifications.

“For example,” she said, “the user needs to give permission for a site to use the camera by clicking ‘allow’ and a persistent notification that the camera is turned on will be present until the camera is turned off to remind users.”

As for whether malicious actors could access the camera or microphone surreptitiously, “Because both the user consent (infobar) and notification mechanisms (system tray and persistent bubble) are in the browser, it’s isolated from website content and therefore much harder to be broken by malicious sites.”

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 10/05/13 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Broadband Privacy
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Lavabit

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Cheeky Lavabit *did* hand over crypto keys to US government after all - printed in a 4-point font

By Paul Duncan
Naked Security
October 4, 2013

Just under two months ago, we wrote about the closure of secure EMAIL SRERVICE Lavabit.

Lavabit’s founder, Ladar Levison, explained that he was in a spot of legal bother that made it impossible for him to continue to operate with a clear conscience, so he would suspend the service.

He also noted that, much as he wanted to, he couldn’t give details about said legal bother.

All he could do was to point out that he had lodged an appeal and hoped to open up the service again one day.

Of course, the smart money was that law enforcement wanted access to data belonging to a certain Mr EDWARD SNOWDEN, the National Security Agency (NSA) whisteblower, who was known to be a Lavabit user.

We HEDGED OUR BETS on Naked Security, since the only thing we knew we knew was that we didn’t know whether the kerfuffle involved Snowden at all.

But recently unsealed COURT DOCUMENTS [PDF, 162 pages, 16MB] now tell a bit more of the story.

The name Snowden is still mentioned only in passing (various redactions have suppressed names throughout the unsealed documents).

So we still don’t have official confirmation that Snowden, amongst others, was the target of the investigation.

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That, however, hardly matters any more.

What matters is the intriguing tale of the court requiring Lavabit to hand over its SSL private keys, and Lavabit arguing that it ought not to comply, since that would give access to all messages to and from all customers, which would be unfair and unreasonable.

Very greatly simplified (and I hope I have not oversimplified to the point of misunderstanding), the court wanted Lavabit to enable law enforcement to intercept so-called email metadata for a particular user.

But due to the use of SSL/TLS at all times, with data kept encrypted in transit and at rest, even accessing mail headers was no simple matter - unless law enforcement were given Lavabit’s private keys.

(A MiTM, or man-in-the-middle, attack on encrypted traffic is trivial if you have all the encryption keys and certificates to use “in the middle.")

Eventually, Lavabit had little choice but to comply, turning over five SSL private keys.

It still wasn’t game over for Lavabit user’s privacy, however, because Levison gamely supplied the cryptgraphic material in printed form, stretched over 11 pages in a four-point font.

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To say that the law enforcement officers were underwhelmed is the understatement of the year, and matters were soon back in court, with “handing over the keys” quickly redefined to mean, “handing over the keys as computer-readable PEM files suitable for immediate use, and no more mucking around.”

Indeed, to guard against further stalling tactics, the government petitioned the court to fine Levison $5000 for every day he continued to dither.

At this point, Levison folded and complied, but pulled the plug on Lavabit at the same time, and that was that for the men-in-the-middle.

The New York Times REPORTS that a prosecutor referred to the abrupt shutdown of Lavabit as “just short of a criminal act,” but, then, nearly-a-crime isn’t actually a crime.

What can we learn from this?

Aside, of course, from the fact that the government didn’t let up for a minute, giving back in court to Lavabit as good as it got - better, in fact, were it not for Levison’s confounded coup de grce.

To me, one of the most interesting aspects of this story is the recognition by a non-tech-savvy court that at least part of the problem was the regrettable fact that Lavabit would need to put the privacy of 400,000 users at risk to secure the lawful surveillance of just one person.

As the court pointed out (this is a transcript, not a written judgement):

[Y]ou’re blaming the government for something that’s overbroad [the requirement to hand over the all-revealing SSL keys], but it seems to me that your client is the one that set up the system that’s designed not to protect that information, because you know that there needs to be access to calls that go back and forth to one person or another. And to say you can’t do that just because you’ve set up a system that everybody has to—has to be unencrypted, [read: in which all users are encrypted in the same way] if there’s such a word, that doesn’t seem to me to be a very persuasive argument.

In short, the court is as good as saying, “If you wanted to come up with this ‘but what about the privacy of all the 399,999 other users’ argument, why didn’t you implement the system so their individual privacy was better protected?”

After all, Lavabit could have taken an approach more like the one used by Kiwi internet showman Kim Dotcom’s Mega service, so that each user’s encrypted traffic and content could stand (or fall) alone.

Of course, that wouldn’t have stopped Levison shuttering the entire service, effectively DDoSing all his users to protect the privacy of one of them.

But from a cryptographic point of view, it would have made a lot more sense to me.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 10/05/13 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Broadband Privacy
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