Showing posts with label Snooping. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Snooping. Show all posts

July 11, 2013

Not Even the US Believes Snowden is at Moscow Airport

 KGB HEADQUARTERS

If there were really smart people running the State Dept. now, it would seemed like the United States has mishandled the surprise hit of the Snowden Situation. They learned nothing from the Assange and Wikileaks it seems. 
There he is in Russia, our no.1or 2 target for the US to want to keep secrets from and the US is making him stay there. First The US puts pressure on the Putin government to the point that he blinked and gave in to the US not to offer asylum (good Call) but still he has Snowden right there.  What do you think might be happening? If you believe that he is holed up at the airport in a little corner hiding from???whom?? Not even the US government believes he is at the airport. 
How can it make sense to keep countries from offering asylum to him and keep him there like if he was isolated. Well he is from everybody else except the Russians! He is inside the Bear’s mouth and what do we do? We break our minds trying to figure out which nation might take him and then make them close the door? Well even I don’t think they(state dept.) might be as stupid and I want to believe the US is working out something for the next Fourth of July at least, but to the naked eye it seems that way, stupid.
What needed to happen was to get a country in which we have ties with get him off Russian soil and control. If you think a mind cannot be control even against it’s will then you haven’t been to the movies.
People that know how the KGB operates will tell you.                {Adam}
*             *            *             *            *           *         *          *
In the summer of 1985, KGB colonel Oleg Gordievsky was called back to Moscow from the Soviet embassy in London, where he was serving as a resident spy. As a pretext, his commanders told him that he was going to receive an award for his service. But in fact the KGB suspected him of being a double agent — which he was — and they were looking to interrogate him. So upon his arrival, his KGB colleagues, still concealing their suspicions, took him to a comfortable country estate in the suburbs of the Russian capital, much like the one where Gordievsky and other former spies believe Edward Snowden, the NSA whistle-blower, has spent the past few weeks.
Since June 23, Snowden has been marooned somewhere in Russia, far out of reach of the U.S. government, which wants to put him on trial for exposing the secrets of U.S. intelligence agencies. The official story coming from the Russian government since then is that Snowden has been holed up in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, waiting for some third country to grant him asylum. But few experts or officials in Moscow still believe that to be true. The accepted wisdom, unofficially acknowledged by most Western and Russian sources, is that Snowden was taken soon after his arrival — if not immediately — to a secure location run by some arm of the Russian government.
 The reason has to do with the secret data Snowden stole from his former employers at American intelligence agencies. This data, which he can likely still access, would make him a high-value target for Russian spies. “Without a doubt, a person with inside knowledge like that, live and in the flesh, would be a very useful catch,” says Mikhail Lyubimov, a 20-year veteran of the KGB who headed the agency’s spying activities against the U.K. and Scandinavia in the 1970s. “He is carrying information of great importance.”
As an experienced hacker and computer expert, Snowden could, however, be expected to protect all his secrets through encryption and by storing them in a remote data cloud. Nikita Kislitsyn, the editor of Russia’s Hacker Magazine, says encryption systems are available that would likely stump the experts working for the Russian government. “We don’t know the exact capabilities of our special services,” he says. “But there are programs on the market today that encryption experts believe to be very solid. Their algorithms would take years to crack even with the kinds of supercomputers available to the state.”
In order to access Snowden’s data, Russian security services would therefore need him to provide the encryption keys and passwords to his data cloud, which he does not seem likely to give up voluntarily. His supporters have cast him as an altruistic whistle-blower; handing over secrets to the Russian government would seem to undermine the values of transparency that he extols.
So Gordievsky believes Snowden would have gotten roughly the same treatment that the KGB spy got back in 1985. “They would have fed him something to loosen his tongue,” Gordievsky says by phone from the U.K., where he has been living in exile for nearly three decades. “Many different kinds of drugs are available, as I experienced for myself.” Having been called back to Moscow, Gordievsky says his KGB comrades drugged him with a substance that “turned out his lights” and made him “start talking in a very animated way.” Although the drug wiped out most of his memory of the incident, the parts he did recollect horrified him the following morning, when he woke up feeling ill. “I realized that I had completely compromised myself,” he says.
One of the substances the KGB used for such purposes at the time was called SP-117, which is odorless, tasteless and colorless, according Alexander Kouzminov, a former Russian intelligence operative who describes the drug’s effectiveness in his book, Biological Espionage. Now living in New Zealand, Kouzminov worked in the 1980s and early 1990s for the Foreign Intelligence Service, the spy agency known as the SVR, which handles undercover agents, or “illegals,” stationed in foreign countries. In his book, Kouzminov writes that various drugs were used periodically to test these operatives for signs of disloyalty or diversion. Once the drug had worn off, the agents would have no recollection of what they had said and, if their test results were satisfactory, they could be sent back into the field as though nothing had happened.
Although it is impossible to determine which of Russia’s secret services could be handling Snowden’s case, Gordievsky believes it would be either the SVR or one of the offshoots of the Federal Agency for Government Communication and Information, known as FAPSI. Before its functions were handed to two other agencies in 2003, FAPSI was the Russian analogue of the U.S. National Security Agency, where Snowden worked as a contractor before fleeing to Hong Kong in May with a cache of the agency’s files.
Most of the secrets Snowden has exposed are related to the NSA’s vast surveillance programs, which he revealed to be collecting data on tens of millions of phone calls and Internet communications around the world. FAPSI’s functions are now split between two of Russia’s main security agencies—the Federal Security Service, or FSB, and the Federal Guard Service, or FSO. These agencies operate their own data-gathering stations in various countries, mostly in the former Soviet Union, and all of them would be keen to learn as much as possible about the work of their American counterparts. “[Snowden] could have information about the internal parameters of these systems, their lists of targets and priorities,” says Vladimir Rubanov, who headed the KGB’s analytical directorate in 1991–92, after which he served three years as deputy head of the Russian Security Council. “Yes, all of this is pretty interesting,” he says. “And it is a fool who has the chance to get information and misses it.”
But Rubanov, who has remained closer to the security services than the other former agents TIME interviewed, tried to downplay Snowden’s importance. “I don’t think he has anything that would really surprise us,” says Rubanov, who sits on the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, a state-connected think tank. “The Americans shouldn’t worry so much,” he says. And even if Russia wanted to get Snowden’s encryption keys, there would be no need to drug him. “I think he would give them up himself. It’s just a question of price.”
Asked where Snowden might be taken to negotiate such a matter, Rubanov says each agency has numerous country estates, or dachas, around Moscow that could be used. The headquarters of the SVR, for instance, is in a suburb called Yasenevo, a short drive from Sheremetyevo airport, and it includes a swimming pool, basketball court and restaurant, all hidden behind a high wall that runs along the perimeter. (A slide show on the agency’s website shows some of its amenities.) “Even out of humanitarian considerations, why not take him to some kind of comfortable place, where he can have all of his technical needs provided for?” asks Rubanov. “For a foreign guest, all of that should be available.”
But a retired officer of the SVR, who holds the rank of major general, insists that Snowden is not being held at any of the agency’s facilities. “At this point, this story has nothing to do with the security services,” he says, asking not to be named. “It is purely political now.”
Politically, Snowden seems to be a liability for President Vladimir Putin, who has said several times that he would prefer for Snowden to get on a plane out of Russia as soon as possible and stop disturbing Moscow’s already fraught relationship with Washington. Snowden’s most likely destination now seems to be Latin America, where several countries — namely Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua — have agreed to grant his asylum. But getting him there may be a slow affair. Snowden’s U.S. passport was annulled in June, and it may take days or weeks for him to get new travel documents. That process, says Gordievsky, could be delayed if Russia feels it needs more time with the American. “They will not let him go without turning him inside out,” he says. “But by now I think they’ve gotten all they need from him. They’ve had plenty of time, which is why they’re letting him go so easily.”
Far more easily, it seems, than Gordievsky’s escape in 1985. Although the KGB’s reasoning remains a mystery to this day, the agency decided not to arrest Gordievsky immediately after he outed himself as a double agent who had passed secrets that year to the British intelligence service. Instead, the KGB put him under surveillance, which he managed to shake a few days later while on a walk around the neighborhood. His British handlers then smuggled him across the Finnish border in the trunk of a diplomat’s car. Wherever Snowden is at the moment, he’s likely hoping he makes it out of Russia at least as safely as Gordievsky did.
By  @shustry

TIME 

twinkle-little-star-putin-blinked-adamfoxie*Shares

June 11, 2013

ACLU Sues Obama Over NSA Snoop / But Who Switch Obama Anyways?


 

Please Address the Court: The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Obama administration over the recent revelation that the National Security Agency is collecting the phone records and Internet data of millions of Americans. According to the ACLU’s lawsuit, that violates the First and Fourth amendments. “The practice is akin to snatching every American’s address book—with annotations detailing whom we spoke to, when we talked, for how long, and from where,” the lawsuit alleges. “It gives the government a comprehensive record of our associations and public movements, revealing a wealth of detail about our familial, political, professional, religious, and intimate associations.” The ACLU previously challenged the FISA Amendment Act while George W. Bush was still president, but the Supreme Court ultimately dismissed it by a 5-4 vote. 

Popular Opinion: A new Pew Research poll taken amid the National Security Agency’s surveillance controversy reveals that 62 percent of Americans view the government’s ability to investigate terrorism as more important than intruding on personal privacy. A further breakdown shows that a majority of Americans—56 percent—are OK with the government tracking the phone records of millions of people, viewing it as an acceptable anti-terrorist tactic. According to the poll, just 41 percent think it’s unacceptable. However, Americans are more divided when it comes to whether the government should have access to email in order to prevent a terrorist attack. Most—52 percent—think the government shouldn’t be able to retrieve it, while 45 percent are fine with it. The latest findings are mostly unchanged from previous polls. 


Talk the Talk: Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., delivered a speech on bipartisan immigration reform on the Senate floor Tuesday entirely in Spanish, a first in that chamber’s modern era. Kaine explained during the course of the 14-minute-long address that he wanted to acknowledge the roughly 40 million Spanish speakers in this country. His remarks came immediately after Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced an amendment to the comprehensive immigration reform bill that would require undocumented immigrants to learn English in order to gain permanent U.S. residency. As The Washington Post noted, speaking a language other than English has been a very rare occurrence in the Senate. More from the Post: “According to records kept by the Senate Library, Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) had a 2004 Senate floor speech he delivered in English later translated into Lakota, the language of Sioux tribes. In 2005, Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), who is of Cuban descent, spoke some Spanish while giving floor remarks, and Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) also spoke briefly in Spanish that year.”  

Dollar Hauler: Even though Michele Bachmann has publicly announced that she is retiring from the House when her term is up, that hasn’t stopped the Republican congresswoman from continuing to raise money. Despite disclosing her plans nearly two weeks ago, Bachmann’s campaign website is still ready to take your donations. It appears the page has not been updated to reflect the fact that Bachmann is no longer seeking re-election as the representative of Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District. As Smart Politics notes, it “is not unusual for officeholders to see funds trickle into their accounts after announcing their retirement from public office.” However, Bachmann—who pulled in $678,665 in donations in the first quarter alone of this year—hasn’t exactly ruled out a future race. As she recently told Fox News host Sean Hannity, “I may run for another public office.”  

Video of the Day: With Jon Stewart gone for 12 weeks to direct his first film, John Oliver officially took over as summer host of “The Daily Show” on Monday night. And the longtime correspondent’s first day at the news desk was anything but slow, despite the fact that Stewart had left him a letter assuring him that no big stories break this time of year. Oliver, who joked that he had planned to begin his first night with some “harmless British jokes,” then naturally started his hosting stint by covering a really big story—the NSA snooping revelations. Oliver took on the secret widespread wiretapping in a new segment called Good News! You’re Not Paranoid.

September 9, 2012

Big Brother Starts With a Little of Progressive



Your chipper TV friend Flo, otherwise known as Progressive Insurance’s ubiquitous shill, wants you to be excited—very excited. As you’ve probably learned from her effervescent commercials, she and her Big Brothers in the insurance biz want you to see their new tracking devices for your car not as a privacy-destroying step to justify raising your government-mandated car insurance premiums. Instead, they want you to see the gizmos, which record your vehicle’s every move, as a great innovation to get you premium discounts for safe driving.
Yet, despite the happy TV ads, questions are nonetheless swirling around this so-called “telematics-based insurance”—questions that Flo doesn’t want you to ask, because the tracking system is so frighteningly invasive and arbitrary.
To appreciate that disturbing reality, consider how the system operates. Quoting a Progressive manager, FoxNews.com reports that the tracking technology “works on algorithms that use your driving style to predict how likely you are to have an accident and how expensive it will be if it happens.” Among the myriad data points that could be collected are braking frequencies and commuting routes.
This may seem innocuous, but the potential use of such data makes the film “Minority Report” seem less like fantasy than spot-on prophecy. In that flick, humans have developed technology to fight “pre-crime”—that is, to stop crimes before they occur and punish people for allegedly preparing to commit said crimes.
“Telematics-based insurance” could easily become the insurance-industry realization of that technology. It could help insurers charge you higher rates for embracing driving styles and geographic routes that supposedly mean you are about to incur collision costs, even if you haven’t actually incurred said costs—and even if you never will incur said costs in the future. Put another way, rather than charge you higher premiums after you incur costs, the companies can use this technology to preemptively punish you beforehand a la a Department of Pre-Crime.

What’s wrong with such a system? The assumptions baked into the algorithms, that’s what. Yes, actuarially speaking, your particular braking method may suggest you are more likely to crash at some point. But citing generalized odds to assume that you in particular will definitely crash in the future—and to then act on that assumption by charging you higher premiums in the present—would be both illogical and predatory, forcing you to pay for accidents that haven’t occurred.
Of course, Flo insists the system today only exists to give customers premium discounts for “good” driving. However, if and when the devices become a prerequisite for insurance—which many experts predict will happen—we would likely see a system in which the standard premium is inflated and the discounts for “good” driving only slightly reduce premiums.
What can be done about this? Fox reports that some states “currently have specific mandates that prevent insurance companies from requiring” the tracking devices. That’s a good step, but the regulation is easy for the industry to get around with punitive pricing schemes for those who do not put the devices in their vehicles.
No, the only real protection is for states to ban targeted premium hikes against drivers who haven’t increased payout costs for their insurer.
Insurance executives will no doubt say that’s an unacceptable government intervention into the “free market.” But, then, so too is the government requirement that all drivers buy car insurance. And if states are going to force people to be the insurance industry’s customers—a mandate that is a financial boon to insurers—then in exchange, it’s fair to require those companies to adhere to some basic consumer-protection regulations.
Without such rules, Flo or another one of her Big Brothers will probably soon be in your car—whether you like it or not.



By David Sirota

David Sirota is a best-selling author of the new book “Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live In Now.” He co-hosts “The Rundown” on AM630 KHOW in Colorado. E-mail him at ds@davidsirota.com, follow him on Twitter @davidsirota or visit his website at www.davidsirota.com.


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