The Techtopus: How Silicon Valley’s most celebrated CEOs conspired to drive down 100,000 tech engineers’ wages
In early 2005, as demand for Silicon Valley engineers began*booming, Apple’s Steve Jobs sealed a secret and illegal pact with Google’s Eric Schmidt to artificially push their workers wages lower by agreeing not to recruit each other’s employees, sharing wage scale information, and punishing violators. On February 27, 2005, Bill Campbell, a member of Apple’s board of directors and*senior advisor*to Google, emailed Jobs to confirm that Eric Schmidt “got directly involved and firmly stopped all efforts to recruit anyone from Apple.”Later that year, Schmidt instructed his Sr VP for Business Operation Shona Brown to keep the pact a secret and only share information “verbally, since I don’t want to create a paper trail over which we can be sued later?”
Net Neutrality=Government Control
ON JANUARY 30, 2014Advocacy groups have delivered a petition to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with a million signatures, asking that the group reverse its controversial net neutrality ruling from two weeks ago.Cale Weissman has more on the impact of the ruling. [Source:*Verge]
Consumer bureau mining hundreds of millions of consumer credit card accounts, mortgages
BY:*Richard Pollock*January 29, 2014 | 6:00 am
Officials at the*Consumer Financial Protection Bureau*are conducting a massive,*NSA-esque*data-mining project collecting account information on an estimated 991 million American credit card accounts.It was also learned at a*Congressional hearing Tuesday that CFPB officials are working with the*Federal Housing Finance Agency*on a second data-mining effort, this one focused on the 53 million residential mortgages taken out by Americans since 1998.“The NSA does not ask Americans' permission to collect their phone records and emails and texts. The CFPB does not ask permission to collect information on America's financial consumers.*”
Is'nt it odd that all these companies run by Democrap Party progressives/communist seem to love not paying taxes. It's the Liberal way-YOU PAY!
Google Joins Apple Avoiding Taxes With Stateless Income
By Jesse Drucker*May 22, 2013 12:15 AM EDT**41 Comments
U.S. Senate scrutiny of*Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s tax strategies turned the spotlight on a unit with $30 billion in profit since 2009 that’s incorporated in Ireland, controlled by a board in California, and doesn’t pay taxes in either place.Apple officials acknowledged yesterday at a congressional hearing that the entity -- a key subsidiary in Apple’s offshore tax strategy -- is managed and controlled in the U.S., yet it still isn’t paying U.S. federal income taxes.
The shifting of profits by multinational companies is costing the U.S. and Europe at least $100 billion per year in lost tax revenue, according to Kimberly Clausing, an economics professor at Reed University in*Portland,*Oregon.“Over the decades, Congress and governments around the world have allowed a system to develop which allows multinational companies to earn income tax-free by using contracts to shift the income, on paper, to companies in low-and zero-tax countries,” said Michael Durst, a retired international tax attorney based in*Washington. The result “is eroding public confidence in the fairness of tax systems in the United States and around the world.”Similar practices by an assortment of companies -- from*Google Inc. (GOOG), owner of the world’s most popular Internet search engine, to*Forest Laboratories Inc. (FRX), the maker of antidepressant drug Lexapro -- are drawing increased scrutiny from regulators in the U.S. and around the world, particularly as European nations face a backlash against austerity measures.
Corporate tax avoidance is now being targeted on several fronts. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a think tank funded by governments around the world, is scheduled to release an “action plan” in July to deal with tax revenue lost to profit shifting. The plan came in response to a request by the Group of 20 nations.The European Commission also is targeting key rules that enable corporate profit shifting.In the U.S., President*Barack Obama’s Treasury Department in April released a list of global tax loopholes to close, many of which it has targeted unsuccessfully in the past.Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations found that Apple avoided paying income taxes on $74 billion of profit during the past four years in part by moving patent rights to a web of offshore subsidiaries that pay virtually no income taxes.Apple Chief Executive Officer*Tim Cook*yesterday maintained the company had done nothing wrong and said it pays “all the taxes we owe -- every single dollar.” The Cupertino, California-based company is also not alone in moving profits to such offshore units.
Google, for example, has used a pair of tax shelters known by tax attorneys as the “Double Irish” and “Dutch Sandwich” that move foreign profits through Ireland and the Netherlands to*Bermuda*to avoid about $2 billion in income taxes a year, according to the*company’s filings*in the U.S.Like Apple, Mountain View, California-based Google shifts profits into an Irish subsidiary that doesn’t pay taxes in Ireland. In Google’s case, it says the unit is managed in Bermuda, which has no corporate income tax.Google has been questioned by the U.K. Parliament twice since November over its tax affairs and is in a more than $1 billion dispute with French tax authorities.Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO)*has funneled hundreds of millions of dollars in profits through a Dutch bookkeeper’s suburban home office en route to subsidiaries in Mauritius and Switzerland. Like Apple, Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo has deposited profits in an Irish subsidiary that claims not to be a tax resident in Ireland, but instead in the Cayman Islands, filings show.
Forest Labs, Cisco
Forest Laboratories, based in New York, has used a virtually identical strategy to that of Google, claiming most of its profits are offshore, even as its sales are almost entirely in the U.S. It has also used an Irish unit that claims to be headquartered in Bermuda, and therefore not on the hook for Irish income taxes.Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO), based in San Jose, California, has avoided paying billions of dollars in income taxes by attributing about half its worldwide profits in recent years to a tiny unit at the foot of the Swiss Alps.Cisco spokeswoman Kristin Carvell had no comment for this article. Yahoo spokeswoman Sara Gorman, Google spokeswoman Samantha Smith and Forest Laboratories Vice President Frank Murdolo didn’t return calls for comment.The Irish Finance Ministry yesterday said there’s “no possibility” of special tax rate deals for companies, in an e-mailed response to questions on Apple’s tax treatment of profits of Irish affiliates.
The companies have also depended on a U.S. tax regulation known as “check the box” -- cited by the Senate investigators in the Apple case -- that makes offshore transactions effectively invisible to the IRS.Senate investigators drilled down into a crucial component of Apple’s strategy that Edward Kleinbard, a former corporate tax attorney and professor at the University of Southern*CaliforniaLaw School, said may make the company vulnerable to taxation in the U.S. In the panel’s report, the top Irish subsidiary receiving offshore profits was found to have held almost all its board meetings in California, with its sole Irish board member rarely attending.“Apple says their Irish subsidiaries’ ‘mind and management’ lies outside Ireland, but the real question is, do those subsidiaries have any mind of their own at all?” Kleinbard said. “If they are not really competent to make independent decisions to take on risks and make contracts on their own behalf, then the structure collapses of its own weight, and the income properly should be taxed to the United States.”To contact the reporter on this story: Jesse Drucker in New York email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jodi Schneider firstname.lastname@example.org
Google boss: I'm very proud of our tax avoidance scheme
Google's Chairman Eric Schmidt said £2.5 billion tax avoidance 'is called capitalism'
By*NIKHIL KUMAR*,*OLIVER WRIGHTThursday 13 December 2012
The head of the internet giant Google has defiantly defended his company’s tax avoidance strategy claiming he was “proud” of the steps it had taken to cut its tax bill which were just “capitalism”.
In an interview in New York Eric Schmidt, Google’s Chairman, confirmed the company had no intention of paying more to the UK exchequer. Documents filed last month show that Google generated around £2.5 billion in UK sales last year but paid just £6m in corporation tax.The Californian based search giant has also been revealed to have sheltered nearly $10bn of its revenues in Bermuda allowing it to avoid some $2bn in worldwide income taxes in 2011.But Mr Schmidt said such schemes were legitimate and the company paid taxes “in the legally prescribed ways”.“I am very proud of the structure that we set up. We did it based on the incentives that the governments offered us to operate,” he said.The Silicon Valley boss went on to suggest that Google would not turn down the opportunity to draw on the big savings allowed under the law in the countries it operates in: “It’s called capitalism. We are proudly capitalistic. I’m not confused about this.”He also ruled out following Starbucks in voluntarily handing more money over to the UK Government.“There are lots of benefits to [being in Britain],” he said.“It's very good for us, but to go back to shareholders and say, 'We looked at 200 countries but felt sorry for those British people so we want to [pay them more]', there is probably some law against doing that.”Mr Schmidt’s defiant stance is unlikely to find favour on either side of the Atlantic with both the American and European Governments searching to find ways of forcing “stateless” internet companies such as Google to pay more tax.The issue will be raised by George Osborne when Britain takes over the chairmanship of the G8 and will also be investigated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).Last week the Chancellor said he was committed to “leading the international effort” to prevent international companies transferring profits away from major economies, including Britain, to tax havens.“We will put more resources into ensuring multi-national companies pay their proper share of taxes,” he said. “With Germany and now France, we have asked the OECD to take this work forward and we will make it an important priority of our G8 Presidency next year.”Tonight Margaret Hodge, chairman of the powerful House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, which recently cross examined Google UK on its tax affairs said Mr Schmidt should be ashamed rather than proud of his company’s tax bill“For Eric Schmidt to say that he is ‘proud’ of his company’s approach to paying tax is arrogant, out of touch and an insult to his customers here in the UK,” she said.“Ordinary people who pay their taxes unquestioningly are sick and tired of seeing hugely profitable global companies like Google use every trick in the book to get out of contributing their fair share.Google should recognise its obligations to countries like the UK from which it derives such huge benefits, and pay proper corporation tax on the profits it makes from economic activity here. It should be ashamed, not proud, to do anything less. ”10K
The East German secret police, known as the Stasi, were an infamously intrusive secret police force. They amassed dossiers on about one quarter of the population of the country during the Communist regime.
But their spycraft — while incredibly invasive — was also technologically primitive by today’s standards.* While researching my book*Dragnet Nation, I obtained the above hand drawn social network graph and other files from the*Stasi Archive*in Berlin, where German citizens can see files kept about them and media can access some files, with the names of the people who were monitored removed.
The graphic shows forty-six connections, linking a target to various people (an “aunt,” “Operational Case Jentzsch,” presumably Bernd Jentzsch, an East German poet who defected to the West in 1976), places (“church”), and meetings (“by post, by phone, meeting in Hungary”).
Gary Bruce, an associate professor of history at the University of Waterloo and the author of “The Firm: The Inside Story of the Stasi,” helped me decode the graphic and other files. I was surprised at how crude the surveillance was. “Their main surveillance technology was mail, telephone, and informants,” Bruce said.
*Another*file revealed*a low-level surveillance operation called an*IM-vorgang*aimed at recruiting an unnamed target to become an informant. (The names of the targets were redacted; the names of the Stasi agents and informants were not.) In this case, the Stasi watched a rather boring high school student who lived with his mother and sister in a run-of-the-mill apartment. The Stasi obtained a report on him from the principal of his school and from a club where he was a member. But they didn’t have much on him — I’ve seen Facebook profiles with*far more information.
A third*file documented*a surveillance operation known as an OPK, forOperative Personenkontrolle, of a man who was writing oppositional poetry. The Stasi deployed three informants against him but did not steam open his mail or listen to his phone calls. The regime collapsed before the Stasi could do anything further.
I also obtained a file that contained an “observation report,” in which Stasi agents recorded the movements of a forty-year-old man for two days — September 28 and 29, 1979. They watched him as he dropped off his laundry, loaded up his car with rolls of wallpaper, and drove a child in a car “obeying the speed limit,” stopping for gas and delivering the wallpaper to an apartment building. The Stasi continued to follow the car as a woman drove the child back to Berlin.
Stasi style! How East Germany's secret police dressed their agents to ensure they could infiltrate the lives of suspects
By Sam Webb20:02 29 Jul 2013, updated 16:21 30 Jul 2013
With their ridiculous fur hats, conspicuous sunglasses, absurd facial hair and awkward catalogue poses, you'd be forgiven for laughing at these cringe-worthy retro pictures.But the reality behind the images is horrifying. These are agents of the dreaded Stasi, East Germany's startlingly effective secret police that turned the Communist country into a paranoid dystopia.The pictures show how agents dressed in an effort to remain inconspicuous as they attempted to invade the privacy of suspected dissenters and gather evidence, before ruthlessly interrogating them - often for days on end.
Hilarious*Photos of the East German Secret Police at Work
German*artist Simon Menner spent more than two years pouring through the Cold War-era archives of East Germany's secret police. His search turned up all kinds of formerly secret images, collected in his book*Top Secret: Images from the Archives of the Stasi. These photos show the details of the Stasi's vast surveillance operation, from seminars on disguises to a manual of combat techniques to Polaroids of apartments about to be ransacked.
Investigative reporter Julia Angwin was curious what Google knew about her, so she asked the company for her search data. "It turns out I had been doing about 26,000 Google searches a month ... and I was amazed at how revealing they were," she tellsFresh Air's Dave Davies.
From NSA sweeps to commercial services scraping our Web browsing habits, to all kinds of people tracking us through our smartphones, Angwin says we've become a society where indiscriminate data-gathering has become the norm. Angwin has covered online privacy issues for years, and in her new book she describes what she did to try to escape the clutches of data scrapers, even to the point of creating a fake identity.
"I want all the benefits of the information society; all I was trying to do is mitigate some of the risk," she says.
Angwin's book is calledDragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance.*She considers dragnets — which she describes as "indiscriminate" and "vast in scope" — the "most unfair type of surveillance."
NSA Uses Corporate News to Spread Propaganda and Silence Dissent
Investigative reporter Glenn Greenwald published an expose this week detailing how the NSA has been feeding “propaganda” to various news publications, which have happily played along. The propaganda isn’t limited just to schlock networks like Fox News, but is promulgated also by widely trusted newspapers, including The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.*
Amerikan Stasi Police State Staring Us In The Face — Paul Craig Roberts
February 18, 2014*|*Categories:*Articles & Columns*|*Tags:*|**Print This Article
Amerikan Stasi Police State Staring Us In The Face
American sheeple stick heads in the sand, pretend to be ostrichesPaul Craig Roberts
American taxpayers have built an entire city in Virginia so that the Pentagon, can practice occupying American cities and putting down protests by US citizens.*http://www.prisonplanet.com/u-s-army...tion.html*This fake city is the training ground for the doctrine outlined in a leaked US Army documenthttp://info.publicintelligence.net/USAMPS-CivilDisturbanceOps.pdf*that describes how soldiers are to be trained to put down domestic disturbances and process prisoners through detainment camps where prisoners will be re-educated to appreciate US policies.
In situations of “extreme necessity” the training embraces deadly force: “Warning shot will not be fired. When a firearm is discharged it will be fired with the intent of rendering the person(s) at whom it is discharged incapable of continuing that activity or course of behavior.” Lecturers in the training courses describe constitutionalists as “domestic extremists.”
Does this make the President of the United States, whose oath of office is to defend the US Constitution against enemies domestic and foreign, a domestic extremist? Is the fear of arrest by Homeland Security as a domestic extremist the reason Obama refuses to defend the Constitution of the United States?
The Army is being trained for domestic police duties that are in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act that prevents the use of the military for domestic law enforcement, another indication that Washington has no respect for the country’s laws and that Obama and his “Justice” Department have no intention of enforcing the laws of the land or abiding by the Constitution.
Where is the media outcry? Where are the law schools? Where is Congress? A government that disregards the laws of the land is both treasonous and tyrannical. Yet, not a peep from “the free and the brave.”
The US government and its puppet auxiliary, the UK government, have turned with vengeance against whistleblowers and their attorneys. Bradley Manning is in prison, Julian Assange is confined to the Ecuadoran Embassy in London, and Edward Snowden is under Russian protection from a tyrannical US government.
Jessellyn Radack, an attorney who represented Snowden was recently detained and questioned in an intimidating way at London’s Heathrow Airport.*http://rt.com/news/snowden-lawyer-he...46/*Washington has taught its British puppet state how to mimic Washington’s Gestapo ways.
The latest revelations of the criminal activities of the Amerikan National Stasi Agencycomes from a leaked NSA document that shows that the Stasi agency considers WikiLeaks Julian Assange to be a “malicious foreign actor” and launched “an international effort to focus the legal element of national power upon non-state actor Assange, and the human network that supports WikiLeaks.” Clearly, the Gestapo is upon us.
RT reports: “The NSA was not alone in its sweeping espionage on the whistle-blowing organization. It also enlisted its partners in the Five Eyes spying network (UK, New Zealand, Australia and Canada) as well as other nations. In documents dating back from August 2010, the US urged 10 other countries with forces in Afghanistan to consider pressing criminal charges against Julian Assange — ‘founder of the rogue WikiLeaks internet website and responsible for the unauthorized publication of over 70,000 classified documents covering the war in Afghanistan.’”http://rt.com/news/wikileaks-assange...rosecutor-526/
In other words, freedom of the press? We don’t need no stinking freedom of the press. We have the presstitute press–the TV networks, the New York Times, Washington Post, National Public Radio, and all the rest of the officially sanctioned state Ministry of Propaganda.
Julian Assange stated, correctly, “The NSA and its UK accomplices show no respect for the rule of law.
”WikiLeaks’ attorney, Judge Baltasar Garzon, the pursuer of Pinochet, had this to say:
“The paradox is that Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks organization are being treated as a threat instead of what they are: a journalist and a media organization that are exercising their fundamental right to receive and impart information in its original form, free from omission and censorship, free from partisan interests, free from economic or political pressure.”
What has happened that explains the transformation of the UK and all of its former English colonies–the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand–into Gestapo Stasi states? These are the countries best known historically for their domestic civil liberties and rule of law, irrespective of their treatment of their indigenous populations and in the case of England her non-white colonies. The original dispossession was of indigenous peoples.
Now these governments have turned on their own.Today the governments of the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand (the Five Eyes) see civil liberty and the accountability of government to law as threats to themselves, and the governments are determined to stamp out the threats. The historical lands of liberty have abandoned liberty and become Stasi states.
What has occurred in the US and UK is that the criminal and treasonous acts of both governments have become so extreme that the governments must destroy civil liberty in order to protect themselves from exposure. Whenever you hear “national security” invoked, you know that government is covering up its crimes and its lies.
The criminal character of both US and UK governments is now recognized by the rest of the world, even by the bought-and-paid-for NATO puppet states, France and Germany. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande are discussing the creation of an European communication network in order to protect Europeans’ communications from the NSA and from Google, Facebook, and other US communication companies that shamelessly cooperate with NSA’s spy network as junior members of the Stasi. Brazil and South America are facing the same challenge of protecting their communications from Washington’s National Stasi Agency.
NSA spies on foreign companies for the benefit of American ones, and it spies on US law firms representing clients against the US government.
The New York Times recently reported that the corrupt Australian puppet state has been working with NSA to steal the private communications of US lawyers with their clients in the Indonesian government involved in a trade dispute with Washington.” http://on.rt.com/vw8d8v In other words, NSA spying helps the US government to prevail in economic lawsuits against it, but the spying is justified in the name of the nonexistent “terrorist threat.” The terrorist is NSA.
And you thought Washington was only spying on “terrorists” to prevent them from “killing us over here.”It is impossible to paint a picture of a more lawless government than Washington haspainted of itself.
When the journalists had come to Snowden’s room that morning, MacAskill sensed something was wrong. In those first two days Snowden’s demeanor had remained unchanged—cool, focused, professional, resigned to his fate. But now they found him angry, shaken, deeply distracted. When they asked what was wrong, he said the N.S.A. was looking for him.
According to intelligence sources, neither Booz Allen nor the N.S.A. yet knew that Snowden had taken classified documents. At this point he was simply missing. It’s believed his family contacted Booz Allen when they couldn’t reach him, setting off alarms. “I feel alone, lost, overwhelmed, and desperate for a reprieve from the bipolar nature of my current situation,” Mills wrote that Monday.
When Snowden was still missing on Tuesday, the N.S.A.’s efforts to find him intensified. On Wednesday, a Century 21 real-estate agent, Kerri Jo Heim, was at the bungalow on Eleu Street with a photographer, preparing for an open house. At one point she was surprised to see two people, one a uniformed policeman, approach the front door. “They just asked if I knew what had happened to the former tenant, and I said I didn’t know,” Heim recalls.
That morning at the Mira, Snowden “was emotional” and had been worrying about his girlfriend, MacAskill remembers. “He was still lying in bed. Just agitated.” Told of this, a person who knows Snowden well says, “Part of him is very naïve. I think he thought the world would see how fucked up what the N.S.A. was doing is and give him a part in a parade. I think he knew people would get mad, and charge him, but that the more that came out, the more people would say, ‘Hey, no.’ ”
LISTEN TO OUR EXCLUSIVE SNOWDEN INVESTIGATION ON*V.F.*AUDIO
BY*LENORA JANE ESTES2:30 PM, APRIL 15 2014
In this month’s edition of*V.F.Audio—the audio edition of the magazine, featuring narrators reading a selection of stories from its monthly print pages—listen to the comprehensive account, based on dozens of independent interviews, and with extensive input from Edward Snowden himself, about how the former National Security Agency contractor gained access to tens of thousands of secret government documents and became the most important whistle-blower of modern times.
In the excerpt below from the May issue’s “The Snowden Saga: A Shadowland of Secrets and Light,” by special correspondent Bryan Burrough and contributing editors Suzanna Andrews and Sarah Ellison, hear the beginning of the spy-novel-worthy tale, including Snowden’s defense of his motives and his attempt to set the record straight. To listen to the full story, download the May issue of*V.F.*Audio*here.
ILLINOIS COPS SEIZE COMPUTERS AND CELL PHONES IN SEARCH FOR TWITTER ACCOUNT MOCKING MAYOR
Illinois seized computers and cell phones while attempting to find the person responsible for a satirical Twitter account mocking the town’s mayor.
The Peoria Journal-Star*reported*that authorities executed a search warrant on the home on Tuesday night in connection with an investigation into the @Peoriamayor account, which reportedly represented itself as belonging to Mayor Jim Ardis*(pictured above, left).*The account was suspended earlier this year, but not before adding a line stating it was satirical in nature.
WASHINGTON—Putting the nation on alert against what it has described as a “highly credible terrorist threat,” the FBI announced today that it has uncovered a plot by members of al-Qaeda to sit back and enjoy themselves while the United States collapses of its own accord.
Multiple intelligence agencies confirmed that the militant Islamist organization and its numerous affiliates intend to carry out a massive, coordinated plan to stand aside and watch America’s increasingly rapid decline, with terrorist operatives across the globe reportedly mobilizing to take it easy, relax, and savor the spectacle as it unfolds.
“We have intercepted electronic communication indicating that al-Qaeda members are actively plotting to stay out of the way while America as we know it gradually crumbles under the weight of its own self-inflicted debt and disrepair,” FBI Deputy Director Mark F. Giuliano told the assembled press corps. “If this plan succeeds, it will leave behind a nation with a completely dysfunctional economy, collapsing infrastructure, and a catastrophic health crisis afflicting millions across the nation. We want to emphasize that this danger is very real.”
TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS and NSA WORKING HARD TO PROTECT YOU ???
updated 7:35 AM EDT 04.16.14Video shows large al Qaeda meetingBy Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon Correspondent
Washington (CNN) -*A new video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years. And the CIA and the Pentagon either didn't know about it or couldn't get a drone there in time to strike.
U.S. officials won't comment on that, but every frame of the video is now being analyzed by the United States.
In the middle of the clip, the man known as al Qaeda's crown prince, Nasir al-Wuhayshi, appears brazenly out in the open, greeting followers in Yemen.
Al-Wuhayshi,the No. 2 leader of al Qaeda globally*and the head of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has said he wants to attack the United States. But in the video, he looks unconcerned that he could be hit by an American drone.
How the NSA is tracking people right now*Documents obtained by The Washington Post*indicate that the National Security Agency iscollecting billions of records a day to track the*location of mobile phone users around the world.*
White House Cyber Chief Says Snowden Damage Will Be Felt for Decades
BY:*Bill Gertz*March 28, 2014 5:10 pm
Damage to U.S. national security caused by NSA contractor Edward Snowden will take decades to repair, the White House official in charge of cyber security said Friday.
“Make no mistake: We are going to be dealing with the fallout from that for all of your careers, and the impact that that has had on our national security will reverberate for decades,” Michael Daniel, special assistant to the president for cyber security, told Naval Academy midshipmen.
Snowden: ‘Training Guide’ for GCHQ, NSA Agents Infiltrating and Disrupting Alternative Media Online
FEBRUARY 25, 2014*BY*21WIRE43 COMMENTS21st Century Wire*says…
Ed Snowden’s latest leaked documents open the lid on what is perhaps the most vindictive and disgusting aspect of the government-corporate joint surveillance state seen yet…
This is Britain’s *GCHQ how-to guide for*Online Covert Action*which, according to Glenn Greenwald (see links below) has been shared with US agencies like the NSA. Upon review, it can only be described as government-sponsored subterfuge of domestic society.
According to these latest documents, there are paid government agent/contractor persons on social media posing as someone they are not, whilst on the payroll of the government. Their job is to befriend members of the alternative media, embed themselves in the ebb and flow of day-to-day communications, and then to engage in elaborate subterfuge – by any means necessary.
The training exercise below uses terms like*“befriend”, “infiltrate”, “mask/mimic”, “ruse”, “set-up”, “disrupt”, “create cognitive stress”,*“use deception”,*“ruin business relationships”, and*“post negative information on appropriate forums”*– all of which is not only illegal and morally bankrupt, but also runs completely contrary to the very fundamental ‘values’ and indeed founding principles, of a modern free democratic society or constitutional republic.*
Optic Nerve: millions of Yahoo webcam images intercepted by GCHQ
* -1.8m users targeted by UK agency in six-month period alone
*•*Optic Nerve program collected Yahoo webcam images in bulk
*•*Yahoo: 'A whole new level of violation of our users' privacy'
*•*Material included large quantity of sexually explicit images
Spencer Ackerman*and*James BallFriday 28 February 2014*05.31*EST
Britain's surveillance agency GCHQ, with aid from the US National Security Agency, intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of internet users not suspected of wrongdoing, secret documents reveal.
GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010 explicitly state that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of*Yahoo*webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target or not.
Today at the Chaos Computer Congress (30C3),xobs*and I disclosed a finding that some SD cards contain vulnerabilities that allow arbitrary code execution — on the memory card itself. On the dark side, code execution on the memory card enables a class of MITM (man-in-the-middle) attacks, where the card seems to be behaving one way, but in fact it does something else. On the light side, it also enables the possibility for hardware enthusiasts to gain access to a very cheap and ubiquitous source of microcontrollers.
In order to explain the hack, it’s necessary to understand the structure of an SD card. The information here applies to the whole family of “managed flash” devices, including microSD, SD, MMC as well as the eMMC and iNAND devices typically soldered onto the mainboards of smartphones and used to store the OS and other private user data. We also note that similar classes of vulnerabilities exist in related devices, such as USB flash drives and SSDs.
As more and more human rights of U.S. citizens are violated in the name of safety and security, the group Anonymous stands to fight at the side of Americans.* Over the holiday weekend, they have even gone as far to announce a call to arms.
Documents reveal demand for 116 more workers to review, investigate 'suspects'
Published: 01/20/2014 at 9:56 PM
The federal government will hire up to 116 full-time private-contractor personnel to help amass and screen data on persons whose movements or activities are brought to the attention of the Terrorist Screening Center, an FBI-administered interagency unit.
The federal government,*starting from the time Obama took office, in various ways has described returning veterans, conservatives, pro-lifers and those who support a constitutional government as potential terrorists.
How your car can be hacked remotely by a tiny device
Automakers need security bounty programs.
By*Steve Abrams*February 7, 2014*/ Photos by Jade
Yet another security researcher is demonstrating a better way to break into vehicle electronic systems, taking control from drivers in a way that could wreak havoc on the roads. While we aren't in imminent danger of wireless drive-by hacks on our cars, automakers must quickly take a more proactive role in discovering and plugging the holes in automotive computer networks before someone devises a practical exploit that requires no physical access to the car.
Automakers remain secretive about their in-vehicle computer security, but as hackers find new ways into these rolling networks, automakers need to open up, acknowledge the risks, and ask for help.
READ THIS:*NHTSA pledges to keep our highways safe from cyber attackers
At the upcoming*Black Hat Asia 2014computer security conference in Singapore, a pair of Spanish security researchers will demonstrate a smartphone-sized circuit board dubbed the 'CAN Hacking Tool' (CHT), which they claim will let them remotely take partial control of many vehicles over a wireless Bluetooth connection.
Mozilla's Lightbeam tool will expose who is looking over your shoulder on the web
By*ADAM SHERWIN Thursday 24 October 2013
Just who is looking over your shoulder when you browse the Internet? Tomorrow, web users will be given a new tool to shine a light on the commercial organisations which track your every movement online.
Lightbeam, a download produced by Mozilla, the US free software community behind the popular Firefox browser, claims to be a “watershed” moment in the battle for web transparency.Everyone who browses the Internet leaves a digital trail used by advertisers to discover what your interests are.
Google has cosied up to governments around the world so effectively that its chairman is a White House advisor
Researchers at Princeton and Northwestern universities have pored over 1,800 US policies and concluded that America is an oligarchy. Instead of looking out for the majority of the country’s citizens, the US government is ruled by the interests of the rich and the powerful, they found. No great surprises there, then.
But the government is not the only American power whose motivations need to be rigourously examined. Some 2,400 miles away from Washington, in Silicon Valley, Google is aggressively gaining power with little to keep it in check.
One source at the technology giant put it well when she referred to the company as an “unelected superpower”. I think this is a fair summary. So far, we are fortunate that that dictatorship is a relatively benign one. The company’s mantra is “do no evil”, and while people may disagree on what evil means, broadly speaking, its founders are pretty good guys. But Larry Page and Sergey Brin will not be around forever. Nor should we rely on any entity that powerful to regulate its own behaviour.
Google and the NSA: Who’s holding the ‘shit-bag’ now?
by Julian Assange
By Julian AssangeIt has been revealed today, thanks to Edward Snowden, that Google and other US tech companies received millions of dollars from the NSA for their compliance with the PRISM mass surveillance system.
So just how close is Google to the US securitocracy? Back in 2011 I had a meeting with Eric Schmidt, the then Chairman of Google, who came out to see me with three other people while I was under house arrest. You might suppose that coming to see me was gesture that he and the other big boys at Google were secretly on our side: that they support what we at WikiLeaks are struggling for: justice, government transparency, and privacy for individuals. But that would be a false supposition. Their agenda was much more complex, and as we found out, was inextricable from that of the US State Department. The full transcript of our meeting is available online through the WikiLeaks website.
The pretext for their visit was that Schmidt was then researching a new book, a banal tome which has since come out as The New Digital Age. My less than enthusiastic review of this book was published in the New York Times in late May of this year. On the back of that book are a series of pre-publication endorsements: Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Michael Hayden (former head of the CIA and NSA) and Tony Blair. Inside the book Henry Kissinger appears once again, this time given pride of place in the acknowledgements.
Schmidt’s book is not about communicating with the public. He is worth $6.1 billion and does not need to sell books. Rather, this book is a mechanism by which Google seeks to project itself into Washington. It shows Washington that Google can be its partner, its geopolitical visionary, who will help Washington see further about America’s interests. And by tying itself to the US state, Google thereby cements its own security, at the expense of all competitors.
A New Apparatus Capable of Spying on You Has Been Installed Throughout Downtown Seattle. Very Few Citizens Know What It Is, and Officials Don’t Want to Talk About It.
by*MATT FIKSE-VERKERK*AND*BRENDAN KILEY
PHOTOS BY MALCOLM SMITH*COMMENTS (111)*PRINT+ Enlarge this ImageMALCOLM SMITHA WIRELESS ACCESS POINT (AP) HIGH ON A POLE*What are these things for? SPD “is not comfortable answering policy questions when we do not yet have a policy.”
The QuestionsThe StrangerAsked SPD That They Declined to Answer by*MATT FIKSE-VERKERK AND BRENDAN KILEY Nov 6, 2013
How Mayor Ed Murray Unraveled Two Years of Police Reform in Only Two Months by*DOMINIC HOLDEN Apr 15, 2014
If you're walking around downtown Seattle, look up: You'll see off-white boxes, each one about a foot tall with vertical antennae, attached to utility poles. If you're walking around downtown while looking at a smartphone, you will probably see at least one—and more likely two or three—Wi-Fi networks named after intersections: "4th&Seneca," "4th&Union," "4th&University," and so on.
That is how you can see the Seattle Police Department's new wireless mesh network, bought from a California-based company called Aruba Networks, whose clients include the Department of Defense, school districts in Canada, oil-mining interests in China, and telecommunications companies in Saudi Arabia.
The question is: How well can this mesh network see you?
How accurately can it geo-locate and track the movements of your phone, laptop, or any other wireless device by its MAC address (its "media access control address"—nothing to do with Macintosh—which is analogous to a device's thumbprint)? Can the network send that information to a database, allowing the SPD to reconstruct who was where at any given time, on any given day, without a warrant? Can the network see you now?
The SPD declined to answer more than a dozen questions from*The Stranger, including whether the network is operational, who has access to its data, what it might be used for, and whether the SPD has used it (or intends to use it) to geo-locate people's devices via their MAC addresses or other identifiers.
Seattle Police detective Monty Moss, one of the leaders of the mesh-network project—one part of a $2.7 million effort, paid for by the Department of Homeland Security—wrote in an e-mail that the department "is not comfortable answering policy questions when we do not yet have a policy." But, Detective Moss added, the SPD "is actively collaborating with the mayor's office, city council, law department, and the ACLU on a use policy." The ACLU, at least, begs to differ: "Actively collaborating" is not how they would put it. Jamela Debelak, technology and liberty director of the Seattle office, says the ACLU submitted policy-use suggestions months ago and has been waiting for a response.
Detective Moss also added that the mesh network would not be used for "surveillance purposes... without City Council's approval and the appropriate court authorization." Note that he didn't say the mesh network*couldn't*be used for the surveillance functions we asked about, only that it wouldn't—at least until certain people in power say it can. That's the equivalent of a "trust us" and a handshake.
His answer is inadequate for other reasons as well. First, the city council passed an ordinance earlier this year stating that any potential surveillance equipment must submit protocols to the city council for public review and approval within 30 days of its acquisition and implementation.
This mesh network has been around longer than that, as confirmed by Cascade Networks, Inc., which helped install it. Still, the SPD says it doesn't have a policy for its use yet. Mayor McGinn's office says it expects to see draft protocols sometime in December—nearly nine months late, according to the new ordinance.
Second, and more importantly, this mesh network is part of a whole new arsenal of surveillance technologies that are moving faster than the laws that govern them are being written. As Stephanie K. Pell (former counsel to the House Judiciary Committee) and Christopher Soghoian (senior policy analyst at the ACLU) wrote in a 2012 essay for the*Berkeley Technology Law Journal:
The use of location information by law enforcement agencies is common and becoming more so as technological improvements enable collection of more accurate and precise location data. The legal mystery surrounding the proper law enforcement access standard for prospective location data remains unsolved. This mystery, along with conflicting rulings over the appropriate law enforcement access standards for both prospective and historical location data, has created a messy, inconsistent legal landscape where even judges in the same district may require law enforcement to meet different standards to compel location data.
In other words, law enforcement has new tools—powerful tools. We didn't ask for them, but they're here. And nobody knows the rules for how they should be used.
This isn't the first time the SPD has purchased surveillance equipment (or, as they might put it, public-safety equipment that happens to have powerful surveillance capabilities) without telling the rest of the city. There was the drones controversy this past winter, when the public and elected officials discovered that the SPD had bought two unmanned aerial vehicles with the capacity to spy on citizens. There was an uproar, and a few SPD officers embarked on a mea culpa tour of community meetings where they answered questions and endured (sometimes raucous) criticism. In February, Mayor Mike McGinn announced he was grounding the drones, but a new mayor could change his mind. Those SPD drones are sitting somewhere right now on SPD property.
Meanwhile, the SPD was also dealing with the port-camera surveillance scandal. That kicked off in late January, when people in West Seattle began wondering aloud about the 30 cameras that had appeared unannounced on utility poles along the waterfront. The West Seattle neighborhood blog (westseattleblog.com) sent questions to city utility companies, and the utilities in turn pointed at SPD, which eventually admitted that it had purchased and installed 30 surveillance cameras with federal money for "port security."
That resulted in an additional uproar and another mea culpa tour, much like they did with the drones, during which officers repeated that they should have done a better job of educating the public about what they were up to with the cameras on Alki. (Strangely, the Port of Seattle and the US Coast Guard didn't seem very involved in this "port security" project—their names only appear in a few cursory places in the budgets and contracts. The SPD is clearly the driving agency behind the project. For example, their early tests of sample Aruba products—beginning with a temporary Aruba mesh network set up in Pioneer Square for Mardi Gras in 2009—didn't have anything to do with the port whatsoever.)
The cameras attracted the controversy, but they were only part of the project. In fact, the 30 pole-mounted cameras on Alki that caused the uproar cost $82,682—just 3 percent of the project's $2.7 million Homeland Security–funded budget. The project's full title was "port security video surveillance system with wireless mesh network." People raised a fuss about the cameras. But what about the mesh network?
Detective Moss and Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh mentioned the downtown mesh network during those surveillance-camera community meetings, saying it would help cops and firefighters talk to each other by providing a wireless network for their exclusive use, with the potential for others to use overlaid networks handled by the same equipment. (Two-way radios already allow police officers to talk to each other, but officers still use wireless networks to access data, such as the information an officer looks for by running your license plate number when you've been pulled over.)
As Brian Magnuson of Cascade Networks, Inc., which helped install the Aruba system, explained the possible use of such a system: "A normal cell-phone network is a beautiful thing right up until the time you really need it—say you've just had an earthquake or a large storm, and then what happens? Everybody picks up their phone and overloads the system."
The network is most vulnerable precisely when it's most needed. A mesh network could be a powerful tool for streaming video from surveillance cameras or squad car dash-cams across the network, allowing officers "real-time situational awareness" even when other communication systems have been overloaded, as Detective Moss explained in those community meetings.
But the Aruba mesh network is not just for talking, it's also for tracking.
After reviewing Aruba's technical literature, as well as talking to IT directors and systems administrators around the country who work with Aruba products, it's clear that their networks are adept at seeing all the devices that move through their coverage area and visually mapping the locations of those devices in real time for the system administrators' convenience. In fact, one of Aruba's major selling points is its ability to locate "rogue" or "unassociated" devices—that is, any device that hasn't been authorized by (and maybe hasn't even asked to be part of) the network.Which is to say,*your*device.
The cell phone in your pocket, for instance.
The user's guide for one of Aruba's recent software products states: "The wireless network has a wealth of information about unassociated and associated devices." That software includes "a location engine that calculates associated and unassociated device location every 30 seconds by default... The last 1,000 historical locations are stored for each MAC address."For now, Seattle's mesh network is concentrated in the downtown area.
But the SPD has indicated in PowerPoint presentations—also acquired by*The Stranger—that it hopes to eventually have "citywide deployment" of the system that, again, has potential surveillance capabilities that the SPD declined to answer questions about. That could give a whole new meaning to the phrase "real-time situational awareness."So how does Aruba's mesh network actually function?
Each of those off-white boxes you see downtown is a wireless access point (AP) with four radios inside it that work to shove giant amounts of data to, through, and around the network, easily handling bandwidth-hog uses such as sending live, high-resolution video to or from moving vehicles. Because this grid of APs forms a latticelike mesh, it works like the internet itself, routing traffic around bottlenecks and "self-healing" by sending traffic around components that fail.
As Brian Magnuson at Cascade Networks explains: "When you have 10 people talking to an AP, no problem. If you have 50, that's a problem." Aruba's mesh solution is innovative—instead of building a few high-powered, herculean APs designed to withstand an immense amount of traffic, Aruba sprinkles a broad area with lots of lower-powered APs and lets them figure out the best way to route all the data by talking to each other.
Aruba's technology is considered cutting-edge because its systems are easy to roll out, administer, and integrate with other systems, and its operating system visualizes what's happening on the network in a simple, user-friendly digital map. The company is one of many firms in the networking business, but, according to the tech-ranking firm Gartner, Aruba ranks second (just behind Cisco) in "completeness of vision" and third in "ability to execute" for its clever ways of getting around technical hurdles.
Take the new San Francisco 49ers football stadium, which, Magnuson says, is just finishing up an Aruba mesh network installation. The stadium has high-intensity cellular service needs—70,000 people can converge there for a single event in one of the most high-tech cities in America, full of high-powered, newfangled devices. "Aruba's solution was ingenious," Magnuson says. It put 640 low-power APs under the stadium's seats to diffuse the data load. "If you're at the stadium and trying to talk to an AP," Magnuson says, "you're probably sitting on it!"
Another one of Aruba's selling points is its ability to detect rogue devices—strangers to the system. Its promotional "case studies" trumpet this capability, including one report about Cabela's hunting and sporting goods chain, which is an Aruba client: "Because Cabela's stores are in central shopping areas, the company captures huge quantities of rogue data—as many as 20,000 events per day, mostly from neighboring businesses." Aruba's network is identifying and distinguishing which devices are allowed on the Cabela's network and which are within the coverage area but are just passing through.
The case study also describes how Cabela's Aruba network was able to locate a lost price-scanner gun in a large warehouse by mapping its location, as well as track employees by the devices they were carrying.It's one thing for a privately owned company to register devices it already owns with a network. It's another for a local police department to scale up that technology to blanket an entire downtown—or an entire city.