Thursday, March 13, 2014

NSA’s Desperation for Secrecy Leads to Stupidity, Alienating the Hacker Community: ‘Freedom Downtime’, a Call to Arms

In 2012 we witnessed NSA’s Director Gen. Keith Alexander put on a black t-shirt and jeans and head out to DEF CON, “one of the world's largest annual hacker conventions”, in search of the youngest and brightest minds in our society to join his ilk:
“‘In this room, this room right here, is the talent our nation needs to secure cyberspace,’ Alexander told the standing-room-only audience at DefCon, a grassroots gathering in Las Vegas expected to draw a record 16,000 attendees this year. ‘We need great talent. We don't pay as high as everybody else, but we're fun to be around.’”
DEF CON 20 By General Keith B Alexander Shared Values Shared Response [sic]

We all know that top government officials lie, this should be obvious to everyone, especially after watching the “National Director of Intelligence James Clapper commit perjury when he testified before the Senate” when he stated that the NSA does “not wittingly” spy on Americans, but the lies that Gen. Keith Alexander dishes out are something else.

I’ll leave the fun factor bit of working for the NSA to the reader, but to claim that the NSA is working to secure cyberspace, now that’s a pack of lies, unless, of course, he is using the military definition of ‘secure’, implying that he wants to “gain possession”, to obtain ownership, of the Internet. In that case, he is one-hundred percent correct.

As Thomas Drake has revealed on numerous occasions, that is exactly what he meant. It’s something that Michael Hayden, the former Director of the NSA and the CIA and the former Principal Deputy of the DNI, has also confirmed, that the United States government wants to own the Internet.
“It’s important. Very few people are still getting it. It is an information war. See, information is power. Information is the coin of the realm, and the government has decided in the Internet age, the way to control it is to own it. Hayden actually said this well over a decade ago, that ‘we have to own the net.’ I don’t think people fully appreciated what that meant.” - quoted text begins at approximately 5:20 in the following video.
NSA Whistleblower was Witness to 9/11 Foreknowledge

So my money is on the latter, that the U.S. government wants to own the Internet, in which case they should be stopped at all costs, but let’s humor Gen. Keith Alexander’s doublespeak that the NSA is trying to create a safer Internet, in which case, he is blatantly lying.

Everyone knows that the NSA has weakened security, which in turn is seriously hurting American technology companies (2). As Bruce Schneier points out:
“I think about this all the time with respect to our IT systems and the NSA. Even though we don't know which companies the NSA has compromised -- or by what means -- knowing that they could have compromised any of them is enough to make us mistrustful of all of them. This is going to make it hard for large companies like Google and Microsoft to get back the trust they lost. Even if they succeed in limiting government surveillance. Even if they succeed in improving their own internal security. The best they'll be able to say is: ‘We have secured ourselves from the NSA, except for the parts that we either don't know about or can't talk about.’”
In a recent interview, Ben Wizner, the director of the ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project, the person in charge of “expanding the right to privacy and increasing the control that individuals have over their personal information; and ensuring that civil liberties are enhanced rather than compromised by new advances in science and technology”, confirm Bruce Schneier’s concerns, that NSA’s program is not about creating a “secure cyberspace” but about compromising security; creating backdoors so to eliminate privacy:
“Wizner says that the documents handed over by Snowden to journalists have sparked two different debates: one about law and policy and what Congress should do, and another among the tech community about the way their security has been compromised by intelligence agencies, with the weakening of encryption standards and finding weaknesses in tech giants’ data centers to suck up information.

“‘The tech community, particularly people worried about security, has been radicalized by these disclosures. They now see that their threat model needs to include the NSA as an adversary if they are going to protect their systems,’ says Wizner.”
Edward Snowden and ACLU at SXSW

The cat is out of the bag, the NSA is undermining the major tools protecting the privacy of everyday communication on the Internet:
“The agency has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption, or digital scrambling, that guards global commerce and banking systems, protects sensitive data like trade secrets and medical records, and automatically secures the e-mails, Web searches, Internet chats and phone calls of Americans and others around the world.”
Everyone knows what the end game is for the NSA, as Glen Greenwald puts it, “to eliminate all privacy globally.”

Glenn Greenwald "The Goal Of The U.S. Government Is To Eliminate ALL Privacy Globally!"

The government’s latest attempt in trying to ensure that they maintain control by preventing additional leaks of sensitive information is to implement a system where they can “scan workers with secret clearances” (emphasis added):
“US intelligence officials are planning a sweeping system of electronic monitoring that would tap into government, financial and other databases to scan the behavior of many of the 5 million federal employees with secret clearances…

“‘What we need is a system of continuous evaluation where when someone is in the system and they're cleared initially, then we have a way of monitoring their behavior, both their electronic behavior on the job as well as off the job,’ Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Congress last month.”
Government Officials To Spy on Workers With Secret Clearance

And this is how the NSA is shooting themselves in the foot. They are bringing out their top guns, trying to hire the best in the field to help them spy on everyone, including themselves. But they are stupid and arrogant enough to think that the best in class will actually agree to put themselves under a microscope where their every move will be scrutinized.

Anyone remotely familiar with the ‘hacking community’ - I prefer to think of it as anyone that has decided to make the Internet their home - will know that no one from this community will willingly submit to having observers watched their every move, not even close, and definitely not those that are the best at what they do.

If you would like to have a feel for what this hacker community is all about then the following 2001 documentary sharing Kevin Mitnick story, “Freedom Downtime”, will give you a glimpse into this world. You be the judge; do you believe the majority of this community is gullible or corrupt enough to actually decide to work for such people as James Clapper, Michael Hayden, and Gen. Keith Alexander, or are they more likely to create beautiful open-source systems that will undermine what the NSA is trying to achieve; to own the Internet? Where lies the glory; in protecting your home and family, or being a judas? This is a call to arms:
“I think this is a community that will welcome this chance to have a conversation with Ed Snowden,” continues Wizner. “Ed can still do the Oprah interview one day if that’s what he wants to do. But we’re not here to talk about his personal life, or what he does every day, or what any network journalist would have to ask. We’re here to talk about the issues. It’s a call to arms.”
Freedom Downtime

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