Showing posts with label Internet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Internet. Show all posts

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Snowden Documents Reveal AT&T Helped NSA Spy on Internet Traffic

Under a decades-old program with the government, telecom giant AT&T in 2003 led the way on a new collection capability that the National Security Agency said amounted to a "'live' presence on the global net" and would forward 400 billion Internet metadata records in one of its first months of operation, The New York Times reported.

The Fairview program was forwarding more than 1 million emails a day to the NSA's headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, the newspaper reported. Meanwhile, the separate Stormbrew program, linked to Verizon and the former company MCI, was still gearing up to use the new technology, which appeared to process foreign-to-foreign traffic.

In 2011, AT&T began handing over 1.1 billion domestic cellphone calling records a day to the NSA after "a push to get this flow operational prior to the 10th anniversary of 9/11," according to an internal agency newsletter cited by the Times. Intelligence officials have told reporters in the past that, for technical reasons, the effort consisted mostly of landline phone records, the newspaper reported.
The NSA spent $188.9 million on the Fairview program, twice the amount spent on Stormbrew, its second-largest corporate program, the newspaper reported.
Such details from the decades-long partnership between the government and AT&T emerged from NSA documents provided by former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden, the Times reported in a story posted Saturday on its website. The Times and ProPublica jointly reviewed the documents, which date from 2003 to 2013.

While it has been long known that American telecommunications companies worked closely with the spy agency, the newspaper reported, the documents show that the government's relationship with AT&T has been considered unique and especially productive. One document described it as "highly collaborative," while another lauded the company's "extreme willingness to help," the newspaper reported.

The documents show that AT&T's cooperation has involved a broad range of classified activities, according to the Times. AT&T has given the NSA access, through several methods covered under different legal rules, to billions of emails as they have flowed across its domestic networks.

It also has provided technical assistance in carrying out a secret court order permitting the wiretapping of all Internet communications at U.N. headquarters, a customer of AT&T, the Times reported. While NSA spying on U.N. diplomats had been previously reported, the newspaper said Saturday that neither the court order nor AT&T's involvement had been disclosed.
The documents also reveal that AT&T installed surveillance equipment in at least 17 of its Internet hubs on American soil, the Times reported, far more than similarly sized competitor Verizon. AT&T engineers were the first to try out new surveillance technologies invented by the NSA, the newspaper reported.
The NSA, AT&T and Verizon declined to discuss the findings from the files, according to the Times. It is not clear if the programs still operate in the same way today, the newspaper reported.
One of the documents provided by Snowden reminds NSA officials to be polite when visiting AT&T facilities, the Times reported, and notes, "This is a partnership, not a contractual relationship."

Saturday, August 15, 2015

AT&T Helped N.S.A. Spy on an Array of Internet Traffic

AT&T Helped N.S.A. Spy on an Array of Internet Traffic - The New York Times
The National Security Agency’s ability to spy on vast quantities of Internet traffic passing through the United States has relied on its extraordinary, decades-long partnership with a single company: the telecom giant AT&T.
While it has been long known that American telecommunications companies worked closely with the spy agency, newly disclosed N.S.A. documents show that the relationship with AT&T has been considered unique and especially productive. One document described it as “highly collaborative,” while another lauded the company’s “extreme willingness to help.”
AT&T’s cooperation has involved a broad range of classified activities, according to the documents, which date from 2003 to 2013. AT&T has given the N.S.A. access, through several methods covered under different legal rules, to billions of emails as they have flowed across its domestic networks. It provided technical assistance in carrying out a secret court order permitting the wiretapping of all Internet communications at the United Nations headquarters, a customer of AT&T. 

Continue reading the main story


Newly Disclosed N.S.A. Files Detail Partnerships With AT&T and Verizon

These National Security Agency documents shed new light on the agency’s relationship through the years with American telecommunications companies. They show how the agency’s partnership with AT&T has been particularly important, enabling it to conduct surveillance, under several different legal rules, of international and foreign-to-foreign Internet communications that passed through network hubs on American soil.
The N.S.A.’s top-secret budget in 2013 for the AT&T partnership was more than twice that of the next-largest such program, according to the documents. The company installed surveillance equipment in at least 17 of its Internet hubs on American soil, far more than its similarly sized competitor, Verizon. And its engineers were the first to try out new surveillance technologies invented by the eavesdropping agency.
One document reminds N.S.A. officials to be polite when visiting AT&T facilities, noting, “This is a partnership, not a contractual relationship.”
The documents, provided by the former agency contractor Edward J. Snowden, were jointly reviewed by The New York Times and ProPublica. The N.S.A., AT&T and Verizon declined to discuss the findings from the files. “We don’t comment on matters of national security,” an AT&T spokesman said.
It is not clear if the programs still operate in the same way today. Since the Snowden revelations set off a global debate over surveillance two years ago, some Silicon Valley technology companies have expressed anger at what they characterize as N.S.A. intrusions and have rolled out new encryption to thwart them. The telecommunications companies have been quieter, though Verizon unsuccessfully challenged a court order for bulk phone records in 2014.
At the same time, the government has been fighting in court to keep the identities of its telecom partners hidden. In a recent case, a group of AT&T customers claimed that the N.S.A.’s tapping of the Internet violated the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches. This year, a federal judge dismissed key portions of the lawsuit after the Obama administration argued that public discussion of its telecom surveillance efforts would reveal state secrets, damaging national security.
The N.S.A. documents do not identify AT&T or other companies by name. Instead, they refer to corporate partnerships run by the agency’s Special Source Operations division using code names. The division is responsible for more than 80 percent of the information the N.S.A. collects, one document states.
Via: New York Times
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Saturday, August 1, 2015

[VIDEO] It's back: FEC says regulating Internet, Google, Facebook under its 'purview'

After backing down amid concerns she wanted to regulate political speech, and even new sites like the Drudge Report, the chairwoman of the Federal Election Commission has renewed talk about targeting campaign and political activities on the internet.
Ann M. Ravel, discussing election regulation during a speech in New York, suggested it was time to produce "thoughtful policy" targeting internet political activity. She also expressed frustration that her last bid was met with "threatening misogynist responses to me."
She was speaking at a day-long conference hosted by the Brennan Center for Justice, the New York City Campaign Finance Board, and the Committee for Economic Development when she was asked about regulating the internet, Google and Facebook.
Ravel said that it would be under the "purview" of the FEC to oversee internet political activities such as fundraising and donations.
Her speech was just posted on YouTube.
Under current rules, the FEC regulates paid campaign ads on the internet just like they do on TV. However, videos or other social media posted for free are not regulated.
When the Democrats on the FEC first raised the possibility of regulations, opponents feared they were going to target conservative groups, activities and news sites. A proposal to delve into the issue died in a 3-3 vote.
Republican Commissioner Lee E. Goodman, the previous chairman,warned that regulations would silence voices on the internet and that sites with a political bent, even in the media, could face rules requiring them to disclose donors and finances.
But in answering the question this week, Ravel indicated she wants to pursue regulations. "It would be under the purview of the FEC to look at some of the issues that arise in new media and the impact of new media, in particular with respect to disclosure and ensuring that there is no corporate contributions, for example excessive contributions or contributions to a particular candidates for example," she said.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Obama Internet Giveaway May Open Pandora’s Box of Porn

Introducing another social pathology to join all the others low–income homes already suffer from hardly seems like an improvement, but that’s the way government works as it “helps.”

President Obama has a new administration initiative, supported by tax dollars, to close the Internet pornography gap. The divide is caused by ill–gotten gains that give too many Americans fast, broadband access to the booming porn industry; while other Americans are reduced to lurking in seedy newsstands, sneaking peeks between the pages of lurid magazines and hoping the clerk doesn’t notice their free browsing.

ConnectHome “will bring high–speed broadband access to over 275,000 low-income households across the US.”

That’s good news for pornographers. They can always use new customers. Thirty percent of all data transferred on the Internet is porn according to The Huffington Post. While porn sites have more visitors than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined.

HuffPost also contends poor people are already online and elevating their heart rate. Mississippi is dead last in per capita income, yet this state leads the nation in average time — almost 12 minutes — spent per porn site.

There are a number of possible explanations. The extra time could be due to initial stupefaction on the part of Mississippi viewers or the Internet connection could be so turgid that viewers don’t want to waste time waiting for a new site to load. It’s even possible there’s a single Internet terminal in the library and viewers have to hot–seat the only chair.

Certainly closing the porn gap is not the official reason for the program, even though it’s likely to be the result.

Once again “it’s the children.” explains, “The effort will initially connect nearly 200,000 children to the Web.” Or as administration flacks put it, “While many middle-class U.S. students go home to Internet access, allowing them to do research, write papers, and communicate digitally with their teachers and other students, too many lower-income children go unplugged every afternoon when school ends.”

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A disaster foretold — and ignored - LOpht’s warnings about the Internet drew notice but little action

The seven young men sitting before some of Capitol Hill’s most powerful lawmakers weren’t graduate students or junior analysts from some think tank. No, Space Rogue, Kingpin, Mudge and the others were hackers who had come from the mysterious environs of cyberspace to deliver a terrifying warning to the world.The making of a vulnerable Internet: This story is the third of a multi-part project on the Internet’s inherent vulnerabilities and why they may never be fixed.Part 1: The story of how the Internet became so vulnerable Part 2: The long life of a ‘quick fix’ Your computers, they told the panel of senators in May 1998, are not safe — not the software, not the hardware, not the networks that link them together. The companies that build these things don’t care, the hackers continued, and they have no reason to care because failure costs them nothing. And the federal government has neither the skill nor the will to do anything about it.
Above: L0pht hackers Brian Oblivion, Tan, Kingpin, Mudge, Weld Pond, Space Rogue and Stefan von Neumann testify before a Senate panel in 1998. (Douglas Graham/Congressional Quarterly via Getty Images)
“If you’re looking for computer security, then the Internet is not the place to be,” said Mudge, then 27 and looking like a biblical prophet with long brown hair flowing past his shoulders. The Internet itself, he added, could be taken down “by any of the seven individuals seated before you” with 30 minutes of well-choreographed keystrokes.
The senators — a bipartisan group including John Glenn, Joseph I. Lieberman and Fred D. Thompson — nodded gravely, making clear that they understood the gravity of the situation. “We’re going to have to do something about it,” Thompson said.
What happened instead was a tragedy of missed opportunity, and 17 years later the world is still paying the price in rampant insecurity.
The testimony from L0pht, as the hacker group called itself, was among the most audacious of a rising chorus of warnings delivered in the 1990s as the Internet was exploding in popularity, well on its way to becoming a potent global force for communication, commerce and criminality.
Hackers and other computer experts sounded alarms as the World Wide Web brought the transformative power of computer networking to the masses. This created a universe of risks for users and the critical real-world systems, such as power plants, rapidly going online as well.
Officials in Washington and throughout the world failed to forcefully address these problems as trouble spread across cyberspace, a vast new frontier of opportunity and lawlessness. Even today, many serious online intrusions exploit flaws in software first built in that era, such as Adobe Flash, Oracle’s Java and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.
“We have the same security problems,” said Space Rogue, whose real name is Cris Thomas. “There’s a lot more money involved. There’s a lot more awareness. But the same problems are still there.”
L0pht, born of the bustling hacker scene in the Boston area, rose to prominence as a flood of new software was introducing such wonders as sound, animation and interactive games to the Web. This software, which required access to the core functions of each user’s computer, also gave hackers new opportunities to manipulate machines from afar.
Via: Washington Post
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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

GOP Wants Review of Internet Governance Handover

The Obama administration’s plan to relinquish U.S. control of the Internet’s architecture to a group of international stakeholders isn’t going over well on Capitol Hill.
Republicans want to review any handover agreement, while members of both parties are saying the California nonprofit that manages the Internet’s addressing system needs to do a better job protecting American copyrights before President Barack Obama turns over control.
“Who’s going to be there when something goes wrong?” asked Rep. Joe L. Barton, a Texas Republican, at a House Energy and Commerce hearing last week. “I’ve yet to hear this vaunted multi-stakeholder process come up with an enforcement mechanism.”
In March 2014, the Commerce Department, which manages the contract with the California group, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, said it would surrender the contract to a group of corporate executives, nonprofit Internet experts and government officials. The handover would occur in September 2015, when the current contract runs out.
Before that happens, though, the stakeholder group that would assume the contract needs to develop a transition plan and no one thinks it will be ready in time.
The fallback plan is for the Commerce Department to extend the contract until the transition plan is ready.
Republicans last week made clear they want to have a look at it before any handover. The House’s Commerce Department appropriation bill, for the second year in a row, includes a provision that would bar the department from spending any funds on the transition.
“We’ve said time and again that this is far too important to rush, and that we must carefully consider all of the consequences and outcomes before we ring a bell that cannot be unrung,” said Rep. Greg Walden, an Oregon Republican and chairman of the Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology panel.
Via: Roll Call

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Kerry: Internet 'Needs Rules to Be Able to Flourish and Work Properly'

In a speech today in South Korea, Secretary of State John Kerry said that the Internet "needs rules to be able to flourish and work properly." This, according to Kerry, is necessary even for "a technology founded on freedom."
Speaking on behalf of the Obama administration, Kerry said that Internet policy is "a key component of our foreign policy."
Kerry made his remarks in the context of talking about how international law is applicable to the Internet. "As I’ve mentioned, the basic rules of international law apply in cyberspace. Acts of aggression are not permissible. And countries that are hurt by an attack have a right to respond in ways that are appropriate, proportional, and that minimize harm to innocent parties. We also support a set of additional principles that, if observed, can contribute substantially to conflict prevention and stability in time of peace. We view these as universal concepts that should be appealing to all responsible states, and they are already gaining traction," said Kerry.
"First, no country should conduct or knowingly support online activity that intentionally damages or impedes the use of another country’s critical infrastructure. Second, no country should seek either to prevent emergency teams from responding to a cybersecurity incident, or allow its own teams to cause harm. Third, no country should conduct or support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, trade secrets, or other confidential business information for commercial gain. Fourth, every country should mitigate malicious cyber activity emanating from its soil, and they should do so in a transparent, accountable and cooperative way. And fifth, every country should do what it can to help states that are victimized by a cyberattack.
"I guarantee you if those five principles were genuinely and fully adopted and implemented by countries, we would be living in a far safer and far more confident cyberworld.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Brad Blakeman: Ceding Control of Internet ‘Part of President’s Strategy of Appeasement & Pandering’

The U.S. government plans to open up the body that manages Internet names and addresses to the global Internet community.
This would mean giving up control of a system developed in the U.S.
Brad Blakeman, former deputy assistant to President George W. Bush, explained the plan to Harris Faulkner on “Fox Report.” He said the Department of Commerce currently keeps track of and doles out all domains and IP addresses. Now, the Obama administration wants to cede that authority to an international body.
“I think it’s part of the president’s strategy of appeasement and pandering,” Blakeman said.
According to Blakeman, the move could raise access fees for domains and IP addresses.
“We should control it. We made it, we paid for it, it’s ours,” he said.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tech at Night: Even Dianne Feinstein tells it like it is about Edward Snowden. We have two new FCC Commissioners.

Tech at Night
Tech at Night is coming when it’s plenty light out this afternoon, because I need to start getting some sleep in preparation for my 25 hour broadcast as part of the Extra Life children’s hospital charity event.
The FCC got two new commissioners this week, a good one in Michael O’Rielly, and a likely bad one in Tom Wheeler. This came only after Ted Cruz got the answers he was looking for. Then again, under Barack Obama that’s the best we could hope for.
It’s very rare that I agree with a gun grabber like Dianne Feinstein but come on, she’s annoying the right people by calling out Snowden as the traitor he is.
Anyway, now that we have a new FCC Chairman, we can at least hope he’ll take on sensible goals. I won’t hold my breath, but we can hope.
Certainly a government that fails so badly to manage its own Internet projects shouldn’t seek to gain more power over the whole Internet.
Oh look, Bitcoin crooks stealing from other Bitcoin crooks. It turns out the drug runners of the Bitcoin community aren’t even cooperative with each other, but will instead rob each other.
It’s good to see a repudiation of the blame the victim approach that so many take these days with respect to copyright reform. One can think copyright is too long but still think the freeloaders online are parasites hoping that Atlas won’t shrug.
Sometimes patent reform is a thorny issue. I’m on record saying that software patents shouldn’t be targeted specifically for erosion, that patent trolls hinder innovation instead of helping it, and that the problem with patents is that too many bad ones are issued. Well, it turns out these principles are coming into conflict under the Democrats’ ill-conceived America Invents Act. I wish we could just repeal that whole law and make the problem go away, then deal sensibly with patent issues.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tech Expert: Discredits Liberalism

Credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images/NewscomThe Internet does weird things to people. One of those weirdnesses comes from the tech-savvy community on the left, who sincerely embrace an agile, entrepreneurial, bottom-up culture in their professional and voluntary pursuits, yet forcefully argue for the top-down paternalism of forcing people to buy health insurance, imposed by a bureaucracy that can’t build a website.
President Obama wants you to believe the disastrous launch of won’t impede the same bureaucracy from implementing Obamacare more broadly. But the odds aren’t good, for reasons that go far beyond the website itself. is an object lesson in the perils of big bureaucracy and crony capitalism. These issues are at the heart of the broader conservative critique of big government. Liberal blogger Matt Yglesias tries to argue that doesn’t discredit liberalism. He is right to be concerned that it might.
No one has a better understanding of this issue than Clay Johnson, who traded partisan politics (including helping to elect the President in 2008) for helping government build better technology. He is furious, and rightly points out that the issue stems from federal procurement laws.
But things like bad procurement laws don’t come out of nowhere. They arise in dysfunctional cultures that are the result of highly politicized decision-making processes. Part of the blame lies with successive Congresses. But part of it, if we’re being honest, is the rigidly bureaucratic culture of government itself. No one who values getting things done quickly and efficiently would ever build a system like the one we have now.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

FEMA, W.H. send storm victims to Internet

When President Barack Obama urged Americans under siege from Hurricane Sandy to stay inside and keep watch on for the latest, he left out something pretty important — where to turn if the electricity goes out.
Despite the heightened expectation of widespread power and cable television failures, everyone from the president to local newscasters seem to expect the public to rely entirely on the Internet and their TVs for vital news and instructions.

None of the major cable or local news channels put emergency phone numbers or key radio station frequencies on their screens. The only phone-related instructions on the homepage of is how to get monthly disaster-prep text messages. The Federal Emergency Management Agency told the public via Twitter to use texts and social media outlets to stay informed.

TV and radio are still the primary methods of getting information about Hurricane Sandy to the public, but social media are increasingly important to those efforts, FEMA chief Craig Fugate said Monday.

“With these types of storms, you get a lot of this is going to be carried out through the traditional TV and radio media,” Fugate told reporters on a conference call. “But we’re using a lot more social media, we’re using everything from Facebook to Twitter. I think there’s a higher degree of awareness that people have of the storm is coming and what the impacts are going to be.”

Via: Politico

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

EXCLUSIVE: GOP Platform includes Internet Freedom, language indicates influence of Rand Paul and libertarian-Republicans

Republicans could soon champion the protection of Internet Freedom as an official party issue, The Daily Caller has learned. Language in the final draft of the Internet freedom proposal was obtained exclusively by The Daily Caller.
The language was finalized on Tuesday, a source in the Republican Party told The Daily Caller, but it awaits party approval next week at the upcoming Republican National Convention.
Approval of the newly finalized draft language, however, would make the party the first of the two dominant political parties to fully and officially embrace Internet freedom. It also signals what Republicans view as important and necessary to keep the Internet open and free.
“Internet Freedom”, according to the finalized draft language, would entail the removal of “regulatory barriers” for technology businesses, resistance to international governance of the Internet and the “constitutional protection” of personal data.
“We will remove regulatory barriers that protect outdated technologies and business plans from innovation and competition, while preventing legacy regulation from interfering with new technologies such as mobile delivery of voice and video data as they become crucial components of the Internet ecosystem,” said the finalized draft.
“We will resist any effort to shift control away from the successful multi-stakeholder approach of Internet governance and toward governance by international or other intergovernmental organizations,” it said.
“We will ensure that personal data receives full constitutional protection from government overreach and that individuals retain the right to control the use of their data by third parties,” it said.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Bad policy after bad policy.  Often illegally imposed. As a result, the Tech Sector – 1/6 of our nation’s economy, as big as health care – is hemorrhaging jobs. Tech Layoffs Hit 3-year High in First Half of 2012

And our Internet service would be better, faster and cheaper were it not for this Administration. 
The damage done by taxes and regulations is often unseen.  The money wasted - either sent to government or spent complying with ridiculous over-regulation - could have instead been invested in improving and expanding existing service, nd hiring people to make it all happen.
The worst gig-and-progress-killing Administration Internet power grab of all was the December 2010 illegal imposition of Network Neutrality. Net Neutrality eviscerates private sector investment in the infrastructure necessary to maintain and continue building the World Wide Web – exactly as ObamaCare does to private sector health care. 
Which ultimately leaves us with the government as our sole Internet Service Provider (ISP) – not at all problematic from a performance or free speech perspective. How do we know this?  Because the Godfather of the Media “Reform” Movement – University of Illinois professor and avowed Marxist (please pardon the redundancy) Robert McChesney – says so:
“At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies. We are not at that point yet. But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.”
Having not to the Media Marxists’ satisfaction done enough damage to the wireless Web, in April 2011 the Administration took a second poisonous bite at the apple

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