Archive for the 'Privacy' Category

Aren’t They Right?

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

The Telegraph seems to have a feast of articles today:

Home Office plans to create ‘Big brother’ database for phones calls, emails and web use

This appears to be either a whistleblower or a ‘feeler’ leak about yet another attempt by the Home Office to ‘store the details of every phone call made, every email sent and every web page visited by British citizens in the previous year’ – even as other countries tighten the protection of their citizens online activity.

Once again it is allegedly in the cause of fighting terrorism, so nothing to be worried about when every single piece of online activity you have made has been kept, that’s not just which website you have been to, but every unencrypted email will be available – searchable – somewhere out of your control. even if you send each of your emails encrypted you will still likely receive many unencrypted, e-receipts being the most bothersome culprit.

Out of your control? Once on a database, you can almost guarantee the data no matter how sensitive will be copied and carried across the country only to be lost who-knows-where, thusly:

NHS disc containing sensitive data lost

A computer disc containing the medical records of more than 38,000 NHS patients went missing when it was sent to a software company to be backed up – in case the records got lost.

The information, which dates back 10 years, was mislaid somewhere between London and Sandown Health Centre on the Isle of Wight.

It was given to courier company City Link in March, but the health centre only spotted it was missing in May.

A spokesman for the South Central Strategic Health Authority said the courier company – which is supposed to track every item at every stage – demonstrated a clear failure by losing all record of the disc once it passed into their hands.

Perhaps time to trust a ‘non-evil’ private company?

I would say not, the only people who should ‘host’ your healthcare record should be yourself or your personal doctor and it should not be networked in any way.

Finally the Conservative Party seems to be turning towards the right direction on CCTV but only partially:

Tories pledge to curb use of CCTV cameras

Unfortunately whilst looking to restrict the amount of CCTV they still echo the opinion of the Met that the solution is higher resolution CCTV rather better forms of policing i.e. more active police actually on the streets, replacing the ‘need’ for CCTV surveillance.

Uncle Sham to push burden of fingerprinting onto airlines

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

U.S. to Insist That Travel Industry Get Fingerprints

By Spencer S. Hsu and Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, April 22, 2008; Page A08

The U.S. government today will order commercial airlines and cruise lines to prepare to collect digital fingerprints of all foreigners before they depart the country under a security initiative that the industry has condemned as costly and burdensome.

The proposal does not say where airlines must collect fingerprints — at airport check-in counters, departure gates or kiosks somewhere in between. But the government estimates the undertaking will cost airlines $2.3 billion over 10 years, a U.S. homeland security official said.

The overall economic impact on companies, passengers and the government is expected to exceed $3.5 billion, industry lobbyists said, at a time when carriers are struggling with safety concerns, high fuel costs and passenger complaints.

Formal announcement of the plan to track the departure of foreign visitors, as part of the Homeland Security Department’s US-VISIT program, comes after an extended battle between the security agency and airlines.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff linked the effort to enforcing the nation’s immigration laws recently, saying airlines were obstructing the measure for commercial reasons.

“If we don’t have US-VISIT air exit by this time next year, it will only be because the airline industry killed it,” Chertoff said recently. “We have to decide who is going to win this fight. Is it going to be the airline industry, or is it going to be the people who believe we should know who leaves the country by air?”

Doug Lavin, regional vice president for the International Air Transport Association, which represents major U.S. and international carriers, said the government, not airlines, should collect fingerprints. “This is ludicrous,” Lavin said. “We can’t afford anything in the billions to support a program that should be a government program.”

Fingerprinting an estimated 33 million departing foreign passengers a year will result in “delayed departures, missed connections here and around the world,” Lavin said.

Launched after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, US-VISIT is intended to automate the processing of visitors entering and exiting the country, using fingerprints and digital photographs to help find criminals, potential terrorists and people who overstay visas and join the nation’s illegal immigrant population.

While the program has succeeded in recording nearly 100 million people entering the country since 2004, the DHS has struggled to implement the exit portion. Frustrated at the department’s slow pace, Congress last year set a June 2009 deadline for DHS to collect fingerprints from departing air passengers in a law to implement recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

Otherwise, Congress said, the government cannot expand the Visa Waiver Program, under which residents of 27 friendly countries can visit the United States without a visa. Inclusion is a priority for nations including South Korea and Greece, and the tourism industry has also targeted South America for expansion.

The proposal will be open for a 60-day comment period. DHS could decide after that time where fingerprinting must be conducted, or it could leave the decision up to airlines, a U.S. official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the proposal has not been formally announced.

[…]

Washington Post

We all know that US-VISIT is a completely useless and bogus waste of time that violates millions of people.

We also know that the USVISIT ‘exit system’ is not in place.

USVISIT is a costly boondoggle. The penny has dropped about this, and Uncle Sham does not want to spend any more money on it.

Instead of building the infrastructure of the exit systems themselves, they are going to shift the burden on making it work to the airlines.

Like it says in this post, the exit system is currently VOLUNTARY. That is clearly insane, almost as insane as the USVISIT itself.

Pocket Satan Chertoff now says that, “If we don’t have US-VISIT air exit by this time next year, it will only be because the airline industry killed it,”. Once again, we have a government putting ‘border security’ (which this clearly is not, it is Security Theatre not real security) in the hands of private companies, and, quite absurdly, claiming that if the system is not in place, it is the fault of those companies, not the government. This is exactly what the UK government has done with fingerprinting at Heathrow Terminal 5.

If USVISIT is so very important, a key part of the US ‘security strategy’, and if the ‘terrorist threat’ was real, then to leave its complete implementation to the will of private companies is insane, and blatantly negligent.

The fact is that the living bag of bones Chertoff knows very well that USVISIT is a failure, that it has cost over $1.3 billion, apprehended only “1,200 criminals and immigration violators” and that any further money spend on this immoral, useless, wasteful, disgraceful, awful, satanic, abominable, monstrous, insane and stupid project would be indefensible, even to the expert and frictionless lie machine of ‘Homeland Security’.

Our only hope is that the airlines grow a backbone and stand up for the rights of their customers. Certainly, BA will be very reluctant to go along with this, after having been stung by their Terminal 5 fingerprinting fiasco, which is set to cost them some money, never mind the embarrassment.

The biometric fad, the most recent in a long line of snake oil solutions to non existent problems, is going to be consigned to the dustbin of technology history, along with 8 track tapes and other obsolete contraptions that seem absurd today. This fad is going to dies faster as more people wake up to what these tools really mean, and how corrosive they are to human society.

The East Germans know all about this.

And so do you.

One can only hope that the economic collapse of the USA will make it impossible for them to maintain this foolishness as their empire implodes and there is no money to run these insane programs. File under the spinoffs and benefits of Imperial collapse.

Another Dalek in the TARDIS

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

Via the Guardian/Observer

Primary school children should be eligible for the DNA database if they exhibit behaviour indicating they may become criminals in later life, according to Britain’s most senior police forensics expert.

Hmm, eligible, how grand – sounds almost postive. Now shall we count the number of ways a primary school child may exhibit criminal tendencies? No, let’s not suffice to say that young children are at a stage of life where they are full of energy, interact in the world in ways that are ‘irrational’ and ‘unlearned’, basically they make ‘mistakes’ as part of growing up. It is not a reason to target them as future criminals.

We can also think of further injustices in how this would be implemented – children of ‘high-risk’ adults would receive preferential ‘eligibility’ so presumably children of poor brown skinned muslim immigrants would be in there ASAP.

Gary Pugh, director of forensic sciences at Scotland Yard and the new DNA spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), said a debate was needed on how far Britain should go in identifying potential offenders, given that some experts believe it is possible to identify future offending traits in children as young as five.

Why is a debate needed? Perhaps there should be a debate on how best to behead forensic police officers, after all ‘We Have The Technology’.
Some experts? How large a percentage and what research have they done, did the ‘experts’ say that criminal behaviour could be educated out or otherwise removed without the need to submit their DNA to a criminal database.

Does Gary Pugh even believe in ‘free will’?

‘If we have a primary means of identifying people before they offend, then in the long-term the benefits of targeting younger people are extremely large,’ said Pugh. ‘You could argue the younger the better. Criminologists say some people will grow out of crime; others won’t. We have to find who are possibly going to be the biggest threat to society.’

But what does this have to do with DNA databases? In any case the vast majority of criminal activity can be dealt with without recourse to DNA profiling

Pugh admitted that the deeply controversial suggestion raised issues of parental consent, potential stigmatisation and the role of teachers in identifying future offenders, but said society needed an open, mature discussion on how best to tackle crime before it took place. There are currently 4.5 million genetic samples on the UK database – the largest in Europe – but police believe more are required to reduce crime further. ‘The number of unsolved crimes says we are not sampling enough of the right people,’ Pugh told The Observer. However, he said the notion of universal sampling – everyone being forced to give their genetic samples to the database – is currently prohibited by cost and logistics.

Pugh thinks that he (and his computer profiling) is in a better position to control a child’s future than the parents and teachers of the child – people with real human interaction. Having said that in the future any teacher is likely to have submitted to the NIR database (as being a person in a ‘position of trust’) so probably not not a reliable judge of character and rights.

Hardly gratifying to know Pugh’s only real concern about enmeshing the whole population is limited to cost and logistics, perhaps his ‘debate’ is only intended to further raise the profile of DNA databasing in government departments.

Civil liberty groups condemned his comments last night by likening them to an excerpt from a ‘science fiction novel’. One teaching union warned that it was a step towards a ‘police state’.

So many ‘steps toward’ over the last few years maybe we got to the zoo and haven’t noticed the lion closing its jaws around the hand of the fools offering snacks through the railings.

Pugh’s call for the government to consider options such as placing primary school children who have not been arrested on the database is supported by elements of criminological theory. A well-established pattern of offending involves relatively trivial offences escalating to more serious crimes. Senior Scotland Yard criminologists are understood to be confident that techniques are able to identify future offenders.

And why does Pugh want to initiate ‘debate’ with the government rather than ‘the country’? Because he knows he needs the knuckle of POWER to enforce his hideous ideas.

A recent report from the think-tank Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) called for children to be targeted between the ages of five and 12 with cognitive behavioural therapy, parenting programmes and intensive support. Prevention should start young, it said, because prolific offenders typically began offending between the ages of 10 and 13. Julia Margo, author of the report, entitled ‘Make me a Criminal’, said: ‘You can carry out a risk factor analysis where you look at the characteristics of an individual child aged five to seven and identify risk factors that make it more likely that they would become an offender.’ However, she said that placing young children on a database risked stigmatising them by identifying them in a ‘negative’ way.

Well this may or may not be true but it has nothing to do with DNA databases

Shami Chakrabarti, director of the civil rights group Liberty, denounced any plan to target youngsters. ‘Whichever bright spark at Acpo thought this one up should go back to the business of policing or the pastime of science fiction novels,’ she said. ‘The British public is highly respectful of the police and open even to eccentric debate, but playing politics with our innocent kids is a step too far.’

From the mistress of gross understatement this should be read as a damning condemnation!

[]

Pugh, though, believes that measures to identify criminals early would save the economy huge sums – violent crime alone costs the UK 13bn a year – and significantly reduce the number of offences committed. However, he said the British public needed to move away from regarding anyone on the DNA database as a criminal and accepted it was an emotional issue.

Thus hoist by his own petard, this idiot shows that he wants a database that is NOT a criminal but a general databse, this man doesn’t believe in the principle of ‘innocent until PROVEN guilty’, he doesn’t care that a police database of the general population is an erosion of habeas corpus and the similar rights that have had to be fought for.

‘Fingerprints, somehow, are far less contentious,’ he said. ‘We have children giving their fingerprints when they are borrowing books from a library.’

And this is Right?

Last week it emerged that the number of 10 to 18-year-olds placed on the DNA database after being arrested will have reached around 1.5 million this time next year. Since 2004 police have had the power to take DNA samples from anyone over the age of 10 who is arrested, regardless of whether they are later charged, convicted, or found to be innocent.

And this is Right?

I repeat we are already at the zoo today, not tomorrow – and YOU are there too.

Concern over the issue of civil liberties will be further amplified by news yesterday that commuters using Oyster smart cards could have their movements around cities secretly monitored under new counter-terrorism powers being sought by the security services.

Of course this is further generalised surveillance that will not stop anything related to terrorism, there is no underground station or bus stop called ‘how to do jihad’, nor ‘semtex R us’, nor ‘At the age of five I spat on a dog’.

Another Schneier bullseye

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

Privacy and Power

When I write and speak about privacy, I am regularly confronted with the mutual disclosure argument. Explained in books like David Brin’s “The Transparent Society,” the argument goes something like this: In a world of ubiquitous surveillance, you’ll know all about me, but I will also know all about you. The government will be watching us, but we’ll also be watching the government. This is different than before, but it’s not automatically worse. And because I know your secrets, you can’t use my secrets as a weapon against me.

This might not be everybody’s idea of utopia — and it certainly doesn’t address the inherent value of privacy — but this theory has a glossy appeal, and could easily be mistaken for a way out of the problem of technology’s continuing erosion of privacy. Except it doesn’t work, because it ignores the crucial dissimilarity of power.

You cannot evaluate the value of privacy and disclosure unless you account for the relative power levels of the discloser and the disclosee.

If I disclose information to you, your power with respect to me increases. One way to address this power imbalance is for you to similarly disclose information to me. We both have less privacy, but the balance of power is maintained. But this mechanism fails utterly if you and I have different power levels to begin with.

An example will make this clearer. You’re stopped by a police officer, who demands to see identification. Divulging your identity will give the officer enormous power over you: He or she can search police databases using the information on your ID; he or she can create a police record attached to your name; he or she can put you on this or that secret terrorist watch list. Asking to see the officer’s ID in return gives you no comparable power over him or her. The power imbalance is too great, and mutual disclosure does not make it OK.

You can think of your existing power as the exponent in an equation that determines the value, to you, of more information. The more power you have, the more additional power you derive from the new data.

Another example: When your doctor says “take off your clothes,” it makes no sense for you to say, “You first, doc.” The two of you are not engaging in an interaction of equals.

This is the principle that should guide decision-makers when they consider installing surveillance cameras or launching data-mining programs. It’s not enough to open the efforts to public scrutiny. All aspects of government work best when the relative power between the governors and the governed remains as small as possible — when liberty is high and control is low. Forced openness in government reduces the relative power differential between the two, and is generally good. Forced openness in laypeople increases the relative power, and is generally bad.

Seventeen-year-old Erik Crespo was arrested in 2005 in connection with a shooting in a New York City elevator. There’s no question that he committed the shooting; it was captured on surveillance-camera videotape. But he claimed that while being interrogated, Detective Christopher Perino tried to talk him out of getting a lawyer, and told him that he had to sign a confession before he could see a judge.

Perino denied, under oath, that he ever questioned Crespo. But Crespo had received an MP3 player as a Christmas gift, and surreptitiously recorded the questioning. The defense brought a transcript and CD into evidence. Shortly thereafter, the prosecution offered Crespo a better deal than originally proffered (seven years rather than 15). Crespo took the deal, and Perino was separately indicted on charges of perjury.

Without that recording, it was the detective’s word against Crespo’s. And who would believe a murder suspect over a New York City detective? That power imbalance was reduced only because Crespo was smart enough to press the “record” button on his MP3 player. Why aren’t all interrogations recorded? Why don’t defendants have the right to those recordings, just as they have the right to an attorney? Police routinely record traffic stops from their squad cars for their own protection; that video record shouldn’t stop once the suspect is no longer a threat.

Cameras make sense when trained on police, and in offices where lawmakers meet with lobbyists, and wherever government officials wield power over the people. Open-government laws, giving the public access to government records and meetings of governmental bodies, also make sense. These all foster liberty.

Ubiquitous surveillance programs that affect everyone without probable cause or warrant, like the National Security Agency’s warrantless eavesdropping programs or various proposals to monitor everything on the internet, foster control. And no one is safer in a political system of control.

The inherent value of privacy:
http://www.schneier.com/essay-114.html

There is another aspect to this that is worth mentioning again.

Each of the examples above refer to scenarios where there are two people who are interacting with each other.

Once you disclose to a police officer, his disproportionate power over you not only exists at that moment, but his actions further aggregate power in the police as a group, whereafter they can search for info on you in absentia.

The aggregated power of the police and of the state, holding all the cards and acting in secret to surveil and catalogue you creates a power that his without precedent in its scope and size.

Anyone who puts forward the mutual disclosure argument dimply DOESNT GET IT. Even if everyone everywhere had equal access to all databases, the public does not have the power of the law; the power to change the rules arbitrarily.

Take for example, the Chancellor’s recent budget. At the stroke of a pen, he is able to put 14p onto a bottle of wine. No vote, no right of redress, THAT IS THE NEW LAW and there is nothing you can do about it.

If we do a little substitution, it is not hard to see how this power over shops pricing wine translates into humans being forced to be fingerprinted like criminals for a database, without any reason other than “it can be done”.

This is how people were forced to wear yellow stars because they were Jewish during the Nazi era, only now, moves like this can be done on every level, because the database gives the state direct access to you on a personal level.

I have always held that there is nothing wrong with being thick. People can’t help being born stupid. If you ARE stupid however, you need to STFU when it comes to complex issues like privacy, databases and the state. These specious arguments: “nothing to hide, nothing to fear”, ‘mutual disclosure’, “they already know everything about us anyway” are all spawned from the mouths of the thick, the idiots, the morons, the dunderheads. They, with their simplistic ‘arguments’ always provide a rationale that is easier to digest, bad for the future, the one that lets the government off the hook, encourages the worst possible practices and to sum up, makes the whole world a shittier place to live in.

Lockdown

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

From the Guardian

Passengers travelling between EU countries or taking domestic flights would have to hand over a mass of personal information, including their mobile phone numbers and credit card details, as part of a new package of security measures being demanded by the British government. The data would be stored for 13 years and used to “profile” suspects.

‘Profile’ what? A mobile phone number or credit card number tell you nothing unless you are also monitoring their usage, so can we assume that the government is interested in collecting blank data? Or that it monitors credit card activity and mobile phone usage? ECHELON suggests the latter, no?

Brussels officials are already considering controversial anti-terror plans that would collect up to 19 pieces of information on every air passenger entering or leaving the EU. Under a controversial agreement reached last summer with the US department of homeland security, the EU already supplies the same information [19 pieces] to Washington for all passengers flying between Europe and the US.

Two wrongs etc.

But Britain wants the system extended to sea and rail travel, to be applied to domestic flights and those between EU countries. According to a questionnaire circulated to all EU capitals by the European commission, the UK is the only country of 27 EU member states that wants the system used for “more general public policy purposes” besides fighting terrorism and organised crime.

This is an absolute disgrace and basically shows that the British government are bunch of power crazed authoritarian shits. It implies that some ‘validation’ would be required for any movement by air, sea or rail. This is only possible where you have a population with an ID card and attendant database. It also implies that you will need to ‘validate’ your credit cards, mobile phone purchases (and ‘up to’ 17 other things) within the same system. This is not so stealthy way of introducing the ‘need’ for mandatory ID systems through other legislation.

The so-called passenger name record system, proposed by the commission and supported by most EU governments, has been denounced by civil libertarians and data protection officials as draconian and probably ineffective.

The scheme would work through national agencies collecting and processing the passenger data and then sharing it with other EU states. Britain also wants to be able to exchange the information with third parties outside the EU.

Read the US, where your personal details are not subject to strong (but soon to be ineffective?) data protection laws

Officials in Brussels and in European capitals admit the proposed system represents a massive intrusion into European civil liberties, but insist it is a necessary part of a battery of new electronic surveillance measures being mooted in the interests of European security. These include proposals unveiled in Brussels last week for fingerprinting and collecting biometric information of all non-EU nationals entering or leaving the union.

If they insist where is the guardian’s reporting and analysis of their statements? An even better question is do you think these people have to justify their insistences to democratic scrutiny?

All airlines would provide government agencies with 19 pieces of information on every passenger, including mobile phone number and credit card details. The system would work by “running the data against a combination of characteristics and behavioural patterns aimed at creating a risk assessment”, according to the draft legislation.

“When a passenger fits within a certain risk assessment, he could be identified as a high-risk passenger.”

We have said numerous times that data doesn’t predict actions, there is sufficient legislation to identify and track suspects without collecting data about the general public. It is a fact and doesn’t become any less so when faced with increasingly irrational demands.

A working party of European data protection officials described the proposal as “a further milestone towards a European surveillance society.

Not towards, we are already there, this would simply make surveillance more extensive.

“The draft foresees the collection of a vast amount of personal data of all passengers flying into or out of the EU regardless of whether they are under suspicion or innocent travellers. These data will then be stored for a period of 13 years to allow for profiling. The profiling of all passengers envisaged by the current proposal might raise constitutional concerns in some member states.”

… but these will be ignored in the face of business lobbying and strongarm tactics from the US and it’s EU representitive, the British government?

The Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford said: “Where is this going to stop? There’s no mature discussion of risk. As soon as you question something like this, you’re soft on terrorism in the UK and in the EU.”

It will stop when people do not comply, these officials and bureaucrats think nothing of the general public, their job is to legislate and they legislate in accordance with their job description not democracy nor liberty nor egalitarianism nor any high ideals (and for the wrong sort of crazy dreams).

Britain is pushing for a more comprehensive system based on the experience of a UK pilot scheme that has been running for the past three years. Officials say Operation Semaphore, monitoring flights from Pakistan and the Middle East, has been highly successful and has resulted in hundreds of arrests.

The scheme has seen one in every 2,200 passengers warranting further investigation, with a tenth of those “being of interest”. British officials say rapists, drug smugglers and child traffickers have been arrested and want the EU scheme to cover “all fugitives from crown court justice”.

0.045% warrant further investigation, and so 0.0045% are of further interest. This is for flights to an area of the world where you may expect their to be an above average ‘level of interest’ 2.7 million ‘interesting people’ worldwide at that rate which of course would be an overestimate. And we haven’t even drilled down into ‘terrorists’ yet.

But Ludford said: “If you ask the UK government how many terrorists have been picked up, I don’t think you get a very straight answer.”

Because it is too embarrassingly small to mention? Because it contradicts the Climate of Fear? Because it is bad for business?

EU officials have asked the Home Office minister Meg Hillier for information about the arrests of suspected terrorists.

On a hiding to nothing

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

Some unscrupulous litter-bug left a copy today’s Guardian on the floor of a train, but the proverbial silver lining is that my eyes were drawn to an article about a person under witness protection.

“The Witness Protection Scheme is designed to look after people who have essential evidence about some of the most serious offences, and who therefore face a real threat to their safety […] some of these are innocent bystanders […]
Individulas living under the scheme have to trade in their old life for a new one […] and changing their identity, with medical records and educational qualifications under a new name …”

I have mentioned (in passing) before that the NIR database cloud/grid/mesh will make maintaining the credibility of the Witness Protection Scheme very difficult. Currently your ‘identity’ can be decomposed and reconstituted quite easily by altering your official paper trail – and yet the witness protection scheme does not provide full untracability:

“In 1999, the IRA supergrass Martin McGartland survived an attempt on his life while living under an assumed identity in Whitley Bay”

Now consider that the ‘selling point’ of the NIR project is that your unique biometric information will be stored on the database and prevent people from assuming multiple identities. You run into a problem, in that there has to be the capability to completely expunge the record of a person – possibly across a number of linked (even transnational) databases and create a false history (which in turn will have have its own history forged – think timestamps!). Either the NIR has to be designed to be compromisable or schemes such as WPS have to be compromised.

And they didn’t deface the crossword either!!

You saw these stories?

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

http://www.guardian.co.uk/idcards/story/0,,2240907,00.html

ID cards for foreigners within three years

… which is the modern-day, socially acceptable (to HMG) equivalent of the compulsory wearing of a Star of David. And the first step on the path to Idi Aminism, as you mentioned yesterday.

On BBQ they run HMG-approved, “ID-lite: it’s alrite” stories.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7186643.stm

But still quote BlindKid, telling it like it is:

Former Home Secretary David Blunkett, who introduced the initial identity card bill, said the scheme would not work unless everyone had to have a card. “In my opinion, without it being mandatory, there is little point in doing it,” he added.

And…

http://www.guardian.co.uk/humanrights/story/0,,2241005,00.html

FBI wants instant access to British identity data

… which is just incredible. For those worried by such schemes there are simple steps to avoid it, as Blogdial has repeatedly pointed out:
1. Don’t give anyone your personal data
2. Vote Tory/LibDem and let them know why you are prepared to support them.
3. DON’T GIVE ANYONE YOUR PERSONAL DATA.

Then, of course, there is the Prum Treaty, which gives anyone in the EU with access to the right computer, indirectly or directly, access to all your personal government-collected information. Do you know anyone who has heard of it, mentioned it to you, expressed their concern? I don’t.
http://www.edri.org/edrigram/number5.12/prum-treaty-eu

It’s the secret tunnel through which personal liberty escapes, dug in the depths of night with a stolen spoon, and hidden from sight behind a poster of a busty wench… it goes unnoticed until one day…

‘That’s not Personal Freedom! That’s a papier-mache model of Personal Freedom!?!?!?! Hang on… OMIGOD Personal Freedom has has been whisked away down the secret tunnel behind the busty wench! How did we not notice!?’

‘I dunno… I’ve been sleeping in the same room as Personal Freedom for years and didn’t have an inkling anything like this could happen… ‘

How many times will people ignore the scraping sounds in the night before they wake up?

On a similar vein, after a year or two of ‘Facebook is fab, you simply must join and be my “friend”‘ articles, there is now a plethora of bleating, indignant tripe being written about how bad Facebook is, and how shocked these commentators are that Facebook has a very convoluted privacy policy, exploits your personal data to the absolute limits, and exists purely to make profit for people who are already incredibly wealthy.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/jan/14/facebook
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/jan/10/privacy.it
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2007/dec/20/facebook.privacy

‘Hang on, you seem to be fucking me up the arse and have been doing for some time but I’ve only just noticed!’

No pity for fools here. Just contempt for what passes as insightful journalism.

Gah!

The citizens of the sovereign states of the African continent want Ron Paul

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

Every person living in a sovereign state on the continent of Africa wants Ron Paul to be the next president of the USA.

Why?

Because he is going to dismantle the evil american empire. That means that plans for the Imperial outpost and control nexus AFRICOM will be scrapped, and they will be spared what many countries have suffered for decades; an invading army of bored soldiers pestering the local women, the CIA operating freely to topple governments and directly manipulate elections and business, etc etc. Had AFRICOM gone ahead as planned, it would have been….’a bad thing’.

The Way Ahead
AFRICOM is still in its early planning stages. The command began initial operations in October 2007 and is still formulating mission, staffing and location options.

[…]

AFRICOM

No, ‘jar heads’, that is not ‘the way ahead’, it is another step down the road to DISASTER and the end of America.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

All people all over the world want the old America back; the America everyone looked up to and cherished. This is probably our last chance to bring it back in our lifetime, and the enemy is trying its best to stop it from happening. They are getting desperate and brazen, like the people who control FOX News and their excluding of Dr. Paul.

Which brings us to…

The american mainstream media is digging deep to try and derail and smear Ron Paul; this time around the hideous grimacing jelly joweled troll they have put in the center of the tracks in front of the oncoming train with a ‘STOP’ sign is named ‘Jamie Kirchick’.

He has instantly been discredited thanks to the internets.

Ron Paul is not a racist. And just for the record, I would rather have an honest, strict constitutionalist racist in the white house than any of the people who are currently running for president.

Thankfully, that hypothetical scenario does not apply in any way to Dr.Paul:

January 8, 2008 5:28 am EST

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA In response to an article published by The New Republic, Ron Paul issued the following statement:

The quotations in The New Republic article are not mine and do not represent what I believe or have ever believed. I have never uttered such words and denounce such small-minded thoughts.

In fact, I have always agreed with Martin Luther King, Jr. that we should only be concerned with the content of a person’s character, not the color of their skin. As I stated on the floor of the U.S. House on April 20, 1999: I rise in great respect for the courage and high ideals of Rosa Parks who stood steadfastly for the rights of individuals against unjust laws and oppressive governmental policies.

This story is old news and has been rehashed for over a decade. It’s once again being resurrected for obvious political reasons on the day of the New Hampshire primary.

When I was out of Congress and practicing medicine full-time, a newsletter was published under my name that I did not edit. Several writers contributed to the product. For over a decade, I have publically taken moral responsibility for not paying closer attention to what went out under my name.

[…]

http://www.ronpaul2008.com/

It is interesting however, that the only things they can dig up about him are the things that he says, or is alleged to have said, and they can never attack his policies.

What this tells us is that his policies are 110% sound and unassailable.

Many years ago, May 1995 to be accurate, we dedicated a large section of issue 4 of our superb magazine Rivendell (named after a BBS, not LOTR btw!) to ‘Constitutions of the World’ – here are the parts:


Part2 of Rivendell 4
in PDF Format. ‘Constitutions of the world’


Part3 of Rivendell 4
in PDF Format. ‘Constitutions of the world’


Part4 of Rivendell 4
in PDF Format. ‘Constitutions of the world’


Part5 of Rivendell 4
in PDF Format. ‘Constitutions of the world’


Part6 of Rivendell 4
in PDF Format. ‘Constitutions of the world’

You can see from the content of that issue why people like us want Ron Paul to become president; he stands for everything that we believe in and that we have believed in for a very long time.

Police raid homes of ‘YouTube Racers’

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

‘Riders told they face having their homes raided and bikes confiscated if they post clips of speeding bikes on the web’

Riders who post clips of themselves speeding on the internet face having their homes raided and computer equipment and even motorcycles seized police have warned.

They say that are monitoring film sharing sites such as YouTube and will leave no stone unturned in the search for culprits.

The warming came after a clip emerged of a motorcyclist hitting an indicated 180mph.

The clip on the website LiveLeak.com appears to show a Kawasaki ZX-10 at 110mph over he national speed limit on a dual carriageway in Buckihghamshire. It is thought to be the most serous speeding offence ever recorded on UK roads.

The rider overtakes one car with 170mph on the clock and wheelies past others at over 140mph. It has been viewed more than 112,000 times.

The police warning came after officers raided the home of a man who posted a 176mph clip on the same site.

[…]

He denies being the rider.

He said, “I had it on a CD that was given to me with other motorcycle clips on it. After seeing clips on Liveleak.com I thought I would share it.”

His home was searched after he volunteered to cooperate with a police investigation.

[…]

South Yorkshire Police said, “As part of the investigation we traced the person who had uploaded the footage on the internet and siezed the computer for examination.”

[…]

Last year a man whose home had been searched by police over yet another clip told MCN he felt he had been treated like a peadophile or murderer.

John Parrott said police had told him to either admit to being the rider in the clip or, “We rip your house apart, seize your computer, your motorcycle, and your video camera.”

[…]

Motorcycle News

I’m not going to type any more of this article, it is SO OUTRAGEOUS it is dirtying my hands transcribing it.

The police cannot raid a person’s house because they upload a clip of someone speeding; uploaded clips do not constitute sufficient evidence that the uploader was the speeder.

Its almost as if the police are running under one set of laws and the public are running under another. Do the police have such a light caseload that they can actually spend time ‘monitoring’ YouTube and LiveLeak for speeding offences? I can scarcely believe the words as printed.

There is no speed limit in Germany. The same sort of speeds on a German road would not raise an eyebrow, but here, people are THREATENED by the police; not after being caught speeding, but because they have FILM OF MOTORCYCLES SPEEDING IN THEIR POSSESSION. It is totally absurd that there should be speed limits on any highway anyway; are German drivers better than drivers from other countries ones? Use the googles and read for yourself.

In any case, this is not about wether or not speeding is good or bad; this is about the rules of evidence, the rule of law and the police making up the law as they go along.

Here are two clips of the police doing just that; making up bespoke law on the spot to suit their mood. In that case, the cameraman knew his rights. This guy knew his rights, but was arrested anyway.

The police do an amazing job. There are countries in the world where you cannot just pick up the phone, call the police and then five minutes later they turn up to help you. They should be paid more money, and have better perks. The majority of the police are decent people, doing a hard job with an intact sense of duty. They are harassed, put in danger, sometimes killed, vilified and disrespected by all sides as thanks. What is entirely wrong is that they are used badly by the state, made to enforce laws that are at best petty and at worse completely insane. It is a waste of their time, and a part of the reason I am sure, many of them act like they are completely ga-ga.

What they should not be doing, is making things WORSE by engaging in stunts like this ‘YouTube Racer’ farce.

MAJOR UPDATE

CNN says:

China limits Internet video to state-controlled companies

HONG KONG, China (AP) — China has moved to restrict videos online, allowing only state-controlled sites to post any — including those shared by users — and requiring Internet providers to delete and report a variety of content.

It wasn’t immediately clear how the new rules would affect YouTube and other providers that host Web sites based in other countries that are accessible from China.

A spokesman for San Bruno, California-based YouTube said the restrictions “could be a cause for concern, depending on the interpretation.”

Tudou.com, which claims to be China’s largest video sharing Web site, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail requesting comment.

The new regulations, which take effect on January 31, were approved by both the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television and the Ministry of Information Industry and were described on their Web sites Thursday.

Under the new policy, Web sites that provide video programming or allow users to upload video must have a permit and be either state-owned or state-controlled.

The majority of Internet video providers in China are private, according to an explanation of the regulations posted on Chinafilm.com, which is run by the state-run China Film Group.

Video that involves national secrets, hurts the reputation of China, disrupts social stability or promotes pornography will be banned. Providers must delete and report such content.

“Those who provide Internet video services should insist on serving the people, serve socialism … and abide by the moral code of socialism,” the rules say.

The permits are subject to renewal every three years and operators who commit “major” violations may be banned from providing online video programming for five years.

Adhering to the new rules could be daunting for YouTube, where about 10 hours of online video covering a wide range of topics is uploaded to the site every minute.

The video-sharing site, which is owned by Google Inc., already faces allegations that it should do more to block the distribution of clips that infringe on copyrights.

None of YouTube’s video-hosting computers is in China, but the government there could still block access to the site from within China.

YouTube hopes the rules won’t cut it off from the rapidly growing number of Chinese residents with Internet access, spokesman Ricardo Reyes said.

“We believe that the Chinese government fully recognizes the enormous value of online video and will not enforce the regulations in a way that could deprive the Chinese people of its benefits and potential for business and economic development, education and culture, communication, and entertainment,” Reyes said.

China ranks as the world’s second largest Internet market with a total audience of about 164 million, including people who surf the Web from public computers, according to the research firm comScore Inc.

Only the United States, with about 182 million Internet users, boasts a larger online audience.

YouTube says people around the world watch more than 200 million videos on its site each day. It declined to specify how much of its traffic comes from China.

[…]

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/01/03/china.internet.video.ap/index.html

I am not for or against what the Chinese do in their own country; that is their business, and good luck to them. What that country does, if it were to apply to me however, is another matter, and any government that emulates them in a country where I have interests is pure evil.

This YouTube Racer / motorcycle story is yet another sign that US/UK is desperate to move to a Chinese style of government, where they simply ban anything they do not understand, do not like, or think is a threat to their absolute power.

And today on El Reg, there is a story saying that UK wants to outlaw “Hacker Tools”:

By John Leyden
The Register
2nd January 2008

The UK government has published guidelines for the application of a law that makes it illegal to create or distribute so-called “hacking tools”.

The controversial measure is among amendments to the Computer Misuse Act included in the Police and Justice Act 2006. However, the ban along with measures to increase the maximum penalty for hacking offences to ten years and make denial of service offences clearly illegal, are still not in force and probably won’t be until May 2008 in order not to create overlap with the Serious Crime Bill, currently making its way through the House of Commons.

A revamp of the UK’s outdated computer crime laws is long overdue. However, provisions to ban the development, ownership and distribution of so-called “hacker tools” draw sharp criticism from industry. Critics point out that many of these tools are used by system administrators and security consultants quite legitimately to probe for vulnerabilities in corporate systems.

The distinctions between, for example, a password cracker and a password recovery tool, or a utility designed to run denial of service attacks and one designed to stress-test a network, are subtle. The problem is that anything from nmap through wireshark to perl can be used for both legitimate and illicit purposes, in much the same way that a hammer can be used for putting up shelving or breaking into a car.

[…]

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/02/hacker_toll_ban_guidance/

This is the same inept, computer illiterate and incompetent government that lost two DVDRs of of peoples personal and sensitive data. The first image that poops into their minds when you use the word ‘web on computers’ is a TV screen with cobwebs all over it.

But I digress.

China is trying to make water run up a waterfall; once they are on the internets, and everyone has a mobile phone, there is going to come a point where viral propagation will make it impossible to stop information flowing. They might be able to execute a couple of people for being seeders or introducers, but once the idea is out, they can never get it back. Trying to control video sites like this is simply absurd, and will do nothing to stop the flow of information that will eventually topple that country’s leaders – that is the tactical error they are making, if their aim is to maximize the amount of time they are able to stay in control as a group.

As for Britain, their government is already universally despised by anyone with a single brain-cell, which is the majority of the country. They are despised precisely because of measures like the one above, and the countless other betrayals and interferences that they have initiated, Chinese style, on this beautiful island.

‘Warning: Fugitive at Pump 8, Fugitive at Pump 8’

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

December 4, 2007
If youre a fugitive from the law — or even if youre just super paranoid about your privacy — you might want to steer clear of a new biometric payment system which has been implemented at about ten Shell gas stations in the Chicago area. The biometric payment system, developed by San Francisco-based Pay By Touch, works by linking a users fingerprint to his or her credit card or checking account. For now, customers must scan their fingertips at a kiosk inside the gas station however, Shell is reportedly considering the idea of having the scanners installed on the pumps to facilitate even faster payment.

But what if the scan taken could be linked to other databases even be cross-checked against the NCIS database? Weve heard about how this technology can be used to create theft proof smart cars which can only be used by the driver registered to that vehicle. And now it appears the technology can be used to verify a credit card users identity as well. But where is the fingerprint information stored and who has access it? Is it possible that, one day in the future, even people wanted for minor offenses, such as failure to appear in court or failure to pay child support, could be nabbed by police at the local gas station or some other store, should they attempt to pay using this new system?

Of course, Im intentionally being absurd obviously, Shell is using the technology to see if it will provide a new level of convenience for its customers it probably has no intention of using it proactively as a crime fighting tool. Furthermore, if youre on the run, youll probably be smart enough not to use such a system.

Still, as adoption of this technology grows — and if one day it becomes ubiquitous — one cant help but wonder what role it might play in identifying and tracking people as they move about and make purchases. By the same token, one can also speculate whether it might be possible for the bad guys to use this technology against consumers: For example, maybe someone will come up with a way of faking peoples fingerprints, as part of an impressive effort to steal their identities.

Shell is reportedly the first gas station company in the U.S. to install biometric payment devices. The company is also reportedly testing hand-held wireless devices that allow full-service customers to pay electronically without getting out of their cars. For more information, check out this article.

[…]

TCMNet

‘What if’. That is the question. TODAY they are not linked to any other databases, but it would be trivial to do so, and government would have no problem in compelling gas stations or anywhere else from providing real time access.

Like we and other people have been saying for ages, they will use this to cut off your life, making you a ‘non person’ at the press of a button, so that you cannot eat, travel or, as in this case, buy gasoline. They could even use it to ration gasoline and food in an ’emergency’.

IF you think that they will not try to do this, you are delusional; and we don’t have to take breath to talk about the ‘accidents’ that can happen where your identity is stolen or corrupted. We have had some very good examples of how that works.

This article is cautious, but the writer has the main points nailed; this is something to be VERY cautious about; do you REALLY need to save three minutes at the pump? Are those three minutes worth your irreplaceable fingerprints? You can already pay at the pump by swiping your card without even entering the station proper – there is no advantage in using your fingerprint to facilitate transactions; this is a completely faddish and pointless exercise. Period.

Close but no cigar

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

Social Democratic Party drops its objections to fingerprints in ID cards

The experts on domestic and legal policy of the parliamentary group of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in the Bundestag, the lower chamber of Germany’s Federal Parliament, have withdrawn their initial objections to biometric enhancements of the new German ID card, the Berlin daily Tagesspiegel has written in a report published in the run-up to the final meeting of the representatives of the ruling coalition on the highly controversial topic scheduled for Tuesday. The Conservatives (CDU) and their partners in the ruling grand coalition, the SPD, have been working towards a solution akin to the one found for the e-passport, the paper declares. Thus apart from a digital photograph of the person in question, two of his or her fingerprints are to be integrated into the electronic ID card’s RFID chip. The approach does not provide for storage of the sensitive data outside the documents themselves. Members of the opposition have already warned that the system that was being put in place would lead to citizens being fingerprinted and photographed like criminals by the registration authorities.

>Dieter Wiefelsptz, an expert of the Social Democratic Party on domestic affairs, said he thought it was possible to countenance the inclusion of fingerprints in the ID cards that most citizens would eventually be carrying provided that “the storing of the data elsewhere has been ruled out completely.” The digital ID card was a “fascinating modernization project,” he added. Because of the potential advantages of the new document for citizens it would make it a lot easier for them to register with authorities or have their age confirmed or checked via the Internet or when surfing the same, he pointed out he for one would be supporting the project. For identification and authentication purposes a digital photo was good, “but a fingerprint is better still,” he declared. For Fritz Rudolf Krper, the deputy head of the parliamentary group of the Social Democrats, the party line is clear: “Fingerprints yes, but no database to go with them.” Even Klaus Uwe Benneter, the spokesman on legal policy issues of the SPD in the Bundestag, who within the ranks of the party has, to date, been a vocal critic of the project has signaled that he would be willing to drop his objections. The citizens of the Federal Republic would undoubtedly “benefit from” the biometric ID card, he said. (Stefan Krempl)

http://www.heise.de/english/newsticker/news/97169

Clearly there are people in the SDP who can feel the threat from routine fingerprinting, and the spectre of a database of everyone’s prints in a central location. What their ‘solution’ doesn’t address is the problem of taking people’s fingerprints, storing them on a card and then that card being readable and the prints, unique IDs and other information subsequently storable in a database. All it will take is one law to require this, and all the work of fingerprinting everyone will have been done on the basis that it was safe. It is called ‘betrayal’.

This problem cannot be circumvented. The SDP have to accept that in order to live in a free society, some things must be forbidden, and mandatory fingerprinting people is one of them. No concessions, no work-arounds, no compromise. The definition of freedom requires that you should not be compelled to be fingerprinted by the state for its purposes.

They at least accept that this is a very gravely serious issue, which is at least a start.

Citizens turn to Blackberry in the face of government spying

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

By Chad Skelton
CanWest News Service
Vancouver Sun
October 08, 2007

VANCOUVER — Police often say organized crime in B.C. is big business. So perhaps it was only a matter of time before gangsters adopted the device of choice among corporate workaholics: the BlackBerry.

It has become so popular among B.C. gang members that an internal RCMP “threat assessment” on organized crime produced this year devotes an entire section to the device.

“It’s something we’ve seen increasing over the last three to four years,” Staff Sgt. Bruce Imrie, head of the RCMP’s Vancouver Integrated Technological Crime Unit, said in an interview. And that poses a big challenge for law enforcement, because encryption and security features make the devices much harder to wiretap than land lines or cellphones.

“The BlackBerry (server) was created with corporate data security in mind,” states the RCMP report, obtained by The Vancouver Sun through the Access to Information Act. “Until recently, this system was only affordable by companies such as Telus, CIBC, and the like; they are now more affordable and it is easy for individuals to set-up a network.”

Imrie confirmed when police get a warrant for a criminal’s BlackBerry messages it can be difficult to intercept them.

“The use of BlackBerries may allow them to circumvent lawful access … (with) the encryption involved in the transmission,” said Imrie.

Even when police confiscate a criminal’s actual BlackBerry, he said, cracking its password to view the messages stored on it can be a challenge.

BlackBerries are most popular among a gang’s highest-ranking members, said Imrie.

“Your general street-level criminal doing organized shoplifting is not as likely to have a BlackBerry as your high-end drug trafficker,” he said. “(And) depending on the sophistication of the criminal organization, the use of the BlackBerry seems to increase.”

However, as BlackBerries become more affordable, that distinction is starting to blur, he said, with the devices becoming more prevalent among all types of criminals.

RCMP Insp. Gary Shinkaruk, head of biker gang investigations in B.C., said BlackBerries are “extremely common” among the criminals his unit investigates.

“For a lot of groups, it’s standard practice,” he said.

Research In Motion, the Canadian company that makes the BlackBerry, did not respond to a request from The Sun to comment on its security measures.

However in June, Scott Totzke, RIM’s vice-president of global security, told The Times of London that its encryption is virtually unbreakable.

“Every message that is sent via a BlackBerry is broken up into 2Kb (kilobyte) packets of information, each of which is given a 256-bit key by the BlackBerry server,” said Totzke. “That means to release the contents of a 10Kb e-mail, a person would have to crack five separate keys, and each one would take about as long as it would for the sun to burn out – billion of years.”

The 500-page RCMP report, titled the Integrated Threat Assessment on Organized Crime, is produced each year.

The copy released to The Sun was heavily edited, with the RCMP deleting many sections for security reasons.

Canada.com

Privacy will be the exclusive reserve of the rich and the ‘criminal’, like we said before.

This is of course, only one sort of private network that anyone can set up, and Asterisk is even simpler and more stealthy. A group of people requiring telephone privacy would, for example, set up an asterisk server somewhere, and then distribute handsets to all the members of the group. Once this is done, the following features become available:

  • free phone calls to any member
  • unbreakable encryption
  • no traffic analysis, because no one even knows that a phone call is in progress
  • phone calls from any open wireless access point, so no cellular network triangulation

Since the plaintext and ciphertext of calls are not stored anywhere, this is a better solution for everyone since there is no ‘evidence’ left behind for anyone to trawl through or try to decrypt. If anything at all is found, only a server and some handsets will turn up and no trace that even a single call was made.

It doesn’t take much imagination to substitute the words ‘gangster’ and ‘criminal’ for ‘you’ and ‘me’. If you want to keep the contents of your email private, there are ways to do it right out of the box.

Will we finally see a surge in the use of GPG/PGP? Only time will tell. What is for certain is that there are more people who are thinking about there privacy than ever before, and some of them are taking steps to protect themselves.

How to stay out of government databases

Monday, July 30th, 2007

By Michael Hampton

As you are probably aware, the greatest threat to your privacy and well-being stems from the government, whether directly or indirectly. Even the freest or most democratic governments have committed their share of atrocities, and even if you think youre safe today, if the political winds blow in a different direction tomorrow, you could be the next victim.

Today, governments use databases to track virtually everything, including their own people. So an important part of protecting yourself is to minimize the amount of information governments have about you.

Unlike businesses, which use databases to reduce the costs of the products and services they provide on a voluntary basis, governments of all stripes use databases of people in order to track, monitor, forcibly control and even kill them more efficiently. Indeed, for a government, this is the only purpose for a database of people.

The most important thing to remember is that being innocent will not protect you. It didnt protect Japanese-Americans in the 1940s, it didnt protect people falsely accused of being Communists in the 1950s, and it doesnt protect innocent people who have had their property wrongly seized or been killed in botched drug raids today.

Staying out of government databases, to the maximum extent possible, is the best way to protect yourself from whatever dark fate your government has in store for you tomorrow. These tips will help those of you who want to protect your privacy to do so without unnecessarily sacrificing your quality of life.

Government gets most of its information about you from you, so limiting the amount of information you give the government is the easiest way to protect yourself.

If you can avoid it, do not obtain a driver license or state ID card. The driver license, despite its dubious legality and its utter irrelevance to the physical act of driving a vehicle, has become so pervasive that virtually everyone now has one. Whether by accident or design, it stands as the de facto ID through which youre tracked, even without the REAL ID Act, by local, state and federal government alike. If you must obtain one, then you can ensure that the information on it is out of date the moment its issued, by obtaining the license and then immediately the same day moving to a new address. You can also provide an address you havent lived at for years, if ever. The same applies to vehicle registrations. Keep in mind that governments dont like it when the information youve given them is inaccurate or outdated, and usually have laws against it; however, such laws are virtually unenforceable.

Obtain a fake ID and use it wherever possible, but never with the government. Many places which ask for a government-issued ID these days have no legitimate reason to ask, or their reason for asking could be satisfied through other means. For instance, hotels ask for ID not because they need to know who you are, but because they want to know that you can pay for your room and any damages you may cause. This need could be met through the use of a credit card or through other means, but the prevalence of government ID cards has caused people to rely on them when other solutions would work as well or better. Jim Harper from the Cato Institute addresses this issue in his book, Identity Crisis. Never use your real name or ID unless the government has actually required it, and be aware that many places will tell you the government requires it, when it does not, such as for air travel. In the U.S., under common law, you may use any name you like, as long as you arent trying to defraud.

Do not give out your Social Security number, if you have one, to anyone except the government. Do not give it to your bank, nor your credit card issuer, nor anyone else, who isnt actually required by the government to collect it. (Your bank does not need a Social Security or tax ID number unless you have an interest-bearing account.) If youve already given it to your bank, for instance, change banks.

On that note, do not keep large amounts of money in banks. All fiat currencies depreciate much faster than any rate of interest youll ever be offered; even interest-bearing offerings will lose money over the long term, adjusted for inflation. True money of intrinsic value, such as gold, silver and platinum, is much more stable, holding its value over the long term, and should be a significant part of any respectable investment portfolio, if not under your pillow.

Do not participate in the census. Sure, your local bureaucrats will try to guilt trip you into filling it out, because they get more of your money if you do. But census data is among the most detailed information the government collects, its been abused before, and government has no legitimate purpose for collecting most of what they ask for these days. The most they need to know is the number of people in your house, not even who they are, and even that is probably too much to tell them.

Be aware of what data government collects and how it uses that data. Remember that the use that seems benign today may turn malevolent next year, and by then its too late. Evaluate a government data collection program not just on its merits but its potential for misuse in the future. Ask yourself, What could Hitler do with this database? That will tell you what its true potential is. Keep in mind nobody saw Hitlers evil coming; he looked like a perfectly normal politician to almost everyone, putting Germany on the path to economic recovery, right up until he started exterminating people.

Always remember that government is evil. Thomas Paine said, Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one. (And a growing number of people believe that government is an unnecessary evil which should be dispensed with as soon as possible so that we can finally have a civilized society.) As we all know by now, the Constitution is no guarantee that our government will remain in its best state; indeed, the government violates it with impunity by having its own court redefine what is or the inconvenient word of the day is. Its only a matter of time before government violates your rights, if it hasnt already, and it probably has.

This is why we were admonished by the countrys founders to distrust government. And that is the best advice of all.

Homeland Stupidity

What about the Children?

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

The visa applications of more than 100,000 people applying to enter the UK were left unprotected and open to manipulation, according to an official report into one of the biggest privacy breaches in recent history.

There are so many things we could do with this article, the first one being substitution for ContactPoint. But I think you get the message.

There are fears that some of the applications may have been doctored to allow terrorists and criminals to enter the UK. GCHQ, the government intelligence agency charged with tracing the applications, is finding it difficult to investigate the claims because of poor quality records.

This is bullshit. There are already enough ‘terrorists’ in the UK by their own reckoning they do not have to enter here by stealth to cause havoc. This logic is completely flawed. It could also have been used to get people in here who simply want to go to the pub.

Last night, politicians described the security failure as ‘shocking’ and said it fatally undermined the government’s claims that electronic ID systems could protect the UK from the heightened terrorist threat.

And yet these are the same people who voted for ID cards, and ContactPoint. THAT is what is shocking.

The findings of the three-month independent investigation into serious breaches of the the visa application process – focusing on system abuses in India, Nigeria and Russia – were slipped out on the last day of Parliament in an apparent attempt to bury bad news.

They always do this.

Its conclusions raise disturbing questions about Britain’s ability to police its borders.

NO IT DOESNT YOU BLOODY MORON.

What it DOES raise questions about, questions that you do not have the intelligence to pose, is how are they going to police ContactPoint and the proposed NIR if they cannot protect the integrity of a mere 100,000 Visa applications.

Once again, it is astonishing that they are not using cryptography to solve these problems. It is astonishing that the Visa system is so badly designed. It is astonishing that they are using contractors to do this job when it should be done ‘in house’ by civil servants.

The report focuses on a private company, VFS, contracted by the Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to process the online visa applications of Indians wanting to visit Britain. It later won similar contracts in Russia and Nigera.

This is too important, hysteria over immigration and false fear over ‘terrorism’ or not, to be in the hands of a private contractor.

But in 2005 it became apparent that the system was chronically flawed. An applicant informed VFS and UK Visas, the government agency in charge of visa processing, that he was able to obtain confidential information – including passport numbers, criminal convictions, ethnic origin and travel details – about other users of the service. He also showed how he could amend other people’s visa applications online. But despite the warning, the system wasn’t shut down until May 2007.

This is very interesting.

When they say ‘an applicant’ they mean a Nigerian or an Indian or a Russian volunteered this information. I guess all the people trying to get Visas for the UK are not all bad after all!

What this bad article also does not say is that ContactPoint is going to be delivered online also, and that this means that people are going to get in there from anywhere also, and the records of children are going to be accessed.

These Guardian articles routinely fail to connect the dots and make the connections. They really do fail it over and over again.

The official report into the security lapse concludes that the government’s National Infrastructure Security Coordination Centre – the former body charged with evaluating the security of IT projects – would have not approved the scheme if it had been asked.

This is irrelevant. The system of issuing Visas can be made infallible and secure and much more simple than it is now. If you have ever seen the absurd spectacle of Immigration officers with loupes inspecting Visas for forgeries at Heathrow you know what I am talking about.

This is how you might do it.

Firstly, Visas must be issued correctly. They must be issued with all the checks that they have been using historically to good effect.

Then, when the Visa is issued the visa number and an image of the Visa and its ‘owner’ are hashed together with GPG an this package is put on an immigration server that is accessible over the internets. When the person who has the visa arrives at Heathrow, all the operator has to do is check that the visa on the system is the one stuck in the passport. He checks to see if the entry has been tampered by checking the signature on the file. If someone got in there and swapped information or altered it, the signature will fail. This means that even if someone gets into the system, they cannot change entries because changing them breaks them; they become tamper proof.

After this, you will never again see people inspecting Visas for forgeries because they will be impossible to make. The only forged Visas in the system will be the ones put there by the ‘security services’…but that is another story.

This is a similar process to the Meau2 named ISLAND decentralized passport authentication system. It is inexpensive, fool proof (even when it is being operated by fools) and can be done right now.

The report notes that FCO IT security advisers were not asked their opinion about the project and that no third party tests were carried out on the system. The Conservative shadow Foreign Office Minister, David Lidington, said he feared the system may have been exploited by terrorists and criminals.

[…]

Guardian

David Liddington is clearly a moron.

Coming to America – NOT!

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

A lurker writes via email:

>for your post tipping points!

Whether due to stringent security measures long lines or general distaste for our elected officials, British tourists are staying away from American soil just as that moment they should be most ready to pounce on it.

The number of Britons travelling to the US has fallen a quarter since 2000 just as the pound is proclaiming its dominance of the dollar. In fact, with current exchange rates (1 to $2.06), America is a virtual half-price sale. “Everything must go!” reads the sign under the Statue of Liberty.

A recent article notes that Orlando, Florida, home of Disney World, is really feeling the tourist squeeze. But I don’t blame Britons from staying away from that somewhat creepy and entirely plasticine city. Even if the exchange rate were one to 20, it would never be worth the money.

[…]

Guardian

And look at the superb comments for further insights:

Or, go to somewhere in Europe. A lunch in a bistro/brasserie in France could be a goats cheese salad, followed by blanquette de Veau(veal in sauce) or mussels and frites or braised ham in cider sauce, followed by cheese and then a pudding. About 10-12 euros, often including 25cl of wine. Including tax and service, bread and water on the table. Cheaper than your US heart attack on a plate, apart from being imaginative, delicious, fresh, wholesome and balanced.

Plus you are unlikely to be surrounded by squeaky voiced American women (why are their voices always so high pitched), and no heavy security and visa issues to get there.
Posted by ManchePaul on July 24, 2007 5:30 PM.

If you put any money into the US economy, their government will just waste a fair proportion of it on bombs and bullets, in the name of US imperialism.

So, as soon as the neo-cons are gone, I will buy some US products. But until then, they can go to hell.

Sometimes, you just have to be cruel, to be kind!
Posted by ThomasCopyrightMMVII on July 24, 2007 5:52 PM.

agree that the USA can be beautiful in places, but why do i always get the feeling they’d rather i didn’t come?
who needs the grim-faced interrogation, finger and eyeball scan at immigration after a long flight? and leaving is no better – i’m sick at being barked at at maximum volume when going through security to my flight gate like i’m some kind of idiot.

Posted by gonetofrance on July 24, 2007 6:34 PM.

American is a beautiful country with some lovely people. However, visitors are made to feel very much less than welcome at immigration. Treated like common criminals: fingerprinted, photographed and regarded as lesser mortals by uncommonly unpleasant immigration officials. Little wonder that some people choose not to undergo this humiliating treatment too often. Why is it that most other countries can make you feel so welcome on entry but not our closest ally?
Posted by greysky on July 24, 2007 7:03 PM.

I would go to America for a holiday or a visit but I find the security paranoia of the current American government a big put off. I do not want the hassle of such a security system, every day something new as regards security – America used to stand for freedom and friendliness but not anymore. Maybe the next President can take the militarism out of the culture. In the meantime, I will spend my money in a friendlier climate – in the mean time good luck.
Posted by Quiller on July 24, 2007 7:40 PM.

After I got my UK pilots licence the USA especially Orlando was very high on my list of places to go. Until I started to hear the stories comming back of other people who “used” to go to the USA for flying holidays. A few enquiries and a look at the long line of visa applicants waiting for permission to do what ever in the USA (visa waiver does not apply if you want to fly or study in USA) turned me off. Then the rest of the stories of hard nasty bully boys in immigration told by friends I know and trust. Add to this the stories of what the immigration department does to people who wish to hire aircraft and an experiance with US immigration on a transit through to New Zealand (where I could hire a aeroplane) and the exchange rate can go to 2 million to 1 and you won’t find me any where near the place.
Posted by nussle on July 24, 2007 7:41 PM.

Who wants to go to a country where your personal data is taken at the border and may be misused or mistakenly used in the most catastrophic way? There are lots other places in the world to visit and many that are much more interesting and cultural.
Posted by DanJ0 on July 24, 2007 8:25 PM.

I agree with all comments made regarding airport security and being treated like a common criminal. I used to travel to New York frequently but, after the last time, I refuse.

What I would like to see is Americans being finger printed, scanned and barked at UK airports. For too long the USA has been able to make arbitraty decisions, mistreat people of other races and nationality. Perhaps if we were to mirror their policies to their nationals, ordinary Americans would get an idea of how utterly disliked they and their country has become.
Posted by Taus on July 25, 2007 9:36 AM.

The only way you’d get me there would be by extraordinary rendition.
Posted by tarquinbullocks on July 24, 2007 8:39 PM.

The sweet smelling steam from the pouring of righteous nectar-bile on the raging fire of US fascism. Did I just type that? Hmmmmmmm…anyway…

Can you say, ‘Tipping Point’?
Can you say, ‘Post Tipping Point’?
Use the google to see what BLOGDIAL said about this in 2003-ish.

It took the Soviet Union 70 years to collapse; hopefully the Neocon Putsch will soon come to an end, and that once great country come back to its senses.

In the mean time, no decent person goes to america. No person with any sense of dignity or self worth puts themselves through the humiliating, degrading and utterly pointless USVISIT.

The momentum of refusniks unwilling to sacrifice themselves to the beasts who run that country is growing, and as people come back from holidays in civilized countries, where the welcome is warm and proper, with stories of good and hassle free times, the pressure on the us to ‘KNOACK ITOAWF’ will be irresistible – they need and lust after the tourist money more than anything.

The outrage that is ContactPoint under attack

Friday, June 22nd, 2007

James Meikle
Friday June 22, 2007
The Guardian

Misuse of an electronic database holding sensitive information on 11 million children in England could lead to millions of breaches of security each year, it is claimed today. Privacy campaigners and independent schools have warned of the “enormous” potential for abuse of the huge IT system to be launched next year.

In a letter to the Guardian, they appeal to the government to reconsider “this hugely expensive and intrusive scheme”. The Guardian revealed on Monday how the system would be open to at least 330,000 people as part of an effort to prevent deaths such as that of Victoria Climbi by helping children’s services work together.

Critics fear it will breach the right to privacy and are concerned about security. It will be accessible through the internet with a two-part authentication.

But today’s letter, signed by representatives of the Independent Schools Council, Action on Rights for Children, the Foundation for Information Policy Research, the Open Rights Group and Privacy International, says that the problems of “a potentially leaky and inadequate system” must be solved before the plan goes further. It claims that evidence from Leeds NHS trust last year suggested that in one month staff logged 70,000 incidents of inappropriate access. “On the basis of these figures, misuse of the ContactPoint system could run to 1,650,000 incidents a month.”

[…]

The computer illiterate Guardian

My emphasis.

Firstly, these moronic journalists have no idea about how to tell these stories because they are computer illiterates. Only a computer illiterate would use a phrase like ‘two-part authentication’ in this context. The correct phrase is:

‘only a user name and password’

When you use the correct phrase, it is then easy to paint a picture of people sharing usernames and passwords to gain entry into this system, which will be live over the internets.

This means that anyone with the url, a leaked username and password and the intent, can get onto the system, and then start to copy the entries one by one.

In fact, a smart person could write a simple PHP script to scrape the entries one by one over a long period of time, prompting the user for an alternative username and password should the one he is supplied with cease to be useful.

Everyone knows about Bugmenot, the service that supplies you with usernames and passwords to many sites on the internets. I’m sure that the Bugmenot Admins would NEVER allow usernames and passwords to ContactPoint on their system, but what Bugmenot demonstrates is that it is easy to not only share usernames and passwords, but it is possible to automate the sharing of these usernames and passwords.

Of course, none of this is in this article. It is not vivid in even the most simple area, that of using the correct terminology, which everyone is familiar with since most people in the UK have some contact with internet accounts and logging into them with a user name and a password.

Even that journalist must have experience of logging into his email account; how is it that these people cannot make the insight jump to the next logical point in the argument against this?

Because they are THICK AS SHIT.

Taking Liberties say ‘More Demonstrations’

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

The new film ‘Taking Liberties‘ is all about everything anyone with a brain-cell has understood for years. What is interesting is that on its weblog, when you want to publish a comment it is set to:

“This blog does not allow anonymous comments.”

Nice one. Anonymity and the ability to publish anonymously is an important right:

In the legal tradition, the right to anonymity is integrally related to an individual’s freedom of expression guarantees. Historically, many authors publish anonymously because their message is too controversial and they risk persecution or social ostracization for the content of their speech. Fundamental principles upon which the US Constitution is grounded were first espoused in The Federalist Papers , by Publius, the famous moniker used by James Madison and Alexander Hamilton when they wished to publish anonymously. Ironically, George Orwell, author of 1984 and Animal Farm , concealed his name and identity, Eric Blair, out of fear of political backlash for his views. The historical and political use of anonymous speech demonstrates that it is a vital part of freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

Like the right to distribute thoughts and ideas, the right to anonymous publishing is an essential component to freedom of expression guarantees. It protects the most valuable speech in a free society: the views that challenge the status quo, the majority, or government.

The US Supreme Court has historically recognized that the constitution’s freedom of expression guarantees protects a publisher’s right to anonymity. According to the US Supreme Court, the right to speak anonymously, exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and the First Amendment in particular. ( McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Comm ., 514 U.S. 334 (1995). According to Justice Stevens, anonymity is a prerequisite for speech in some cases. He pointed out that the motivation for anonymous publication may be to avoid social ostracism, to prevent retaliation, or to protect privacy. It is anonymous speech that shields individuals from the tyranny of the majority [It] protects unpopular individuals from retaliation and their ideas from suppression a the hand of an intolerant society. Id.

In Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York, Inc. v. Village of Stratton , 122 S. Ct. 2080, 2090 (2002), the US Supreme Court ruled that a municipal ordinance requiring pamphleteers to disclose names implicates anonymity interests rooted in the First Amendment’s freedom of expression guarantees. The US Supreme Court also struck down a law requiring citizens to wear identification badges because it violated citizens’ First Amendment right to anonymity. ( Buckley v. Am. Constitutional Law Foun., Inc. , 525 U.S. 182 (1992).

Lower federal courts have specifically extended the right to publish anonymously to the Internet, ruling that the constitutional rights of Internet users, including the right to speak anonymously, must be carefully safeguarded, ( Doe v. 2TheMart.com, Inc ., 140 F. Supp.2d at 1097). The First Amendment right communicate anonymously over the Internet was also upheld in ACLU v. Johnson , 4 F. Supp.2d 1029, 1033 (D.N.M. 1998), aff’d, 194 F.3d 1149 (10 th Cir. 1999) and in ACLU of Georgia v. Miller , 977 F. Supp. 1228, 1230 (N.D. Ga 1997), which additionally recognized the constitutional right to communicate pseudonymously on the Internet.

Canadian courts have likewise extended the right to speak anonymously to the Internet:

Some degree of privacy or confidentiality with respect to the identity of the Internet protocol address of the originator of message has significant safety value and is in keeping with what should be perceived as being good public policy. Wilkins J. in Irwin Toy v. Doe (2000), 12 C.P.C. (5 th ) 103 (Ont. S.C.J.) […]

But there is much worse about these people….

What is most galling about them is their ‘what you can do‘ page.

As you know being an avid reader of BLOGDIAL, we understand that demonstrations are totally ineffective, and anyone who asks you to demonstrate is actually a part of the problem.

The only way we can permanently stop war is to think obliquely use common sense and do not do anything that will not permanently fix what is wrong.

We had this debate on BLOGDIAL before the historic march organized by StopWar. Demonstrations are pointless because they do not achieve their ends, and the people who go on them are nothing more than stupid monkeys; the people who organize them are actually working for the enemy. Time and time again we have said this, (and other stuff) and had it proved, sadly.

Now the directors of this film, after everything we have said and witnessed are asking everyone to:

Join Amnesty
Visit and sign up online:
web.amnesty.org/pages/join-eng

Join Liberty
Visit and sign up online:
www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/join

Email Your MP
Demand to know what they are doing about the issues raised in the film:
www.writetothem.com

Join the Mass Lone Demos
Demonstrations take place 5pm to 7:30pm on the third Wednesday of every month, forms [MS WORD] [PDF] must be handed in or sent by recorded delivery 1 week beforehand.

[…]

Joining Amnesty will not cause one law to be repealed, nor will it stop new bad legislation from being enacted.

Similarly, Joining Liberty will achieve absolutely nothing at all.

Emailing the very people who pass the laws that enslave you is just STUPID.

And joining demonstrations we know about, don’t we?

Telling the truth is not enough. Acting is not enough. Correct Action is the only thing that will change what you want changed.

But you know this!