April 11, 2014
The Source of Our Heartbleed?

Dan Gillmor finally says what I’ve been thinking about the Heartbleed bug in OpenSSL, which if you haven’t heard may have endangered every account password you value. Or it may not, depends on what you do on the internet. If you don’t buy, sell, or bank, and your email doesn’t contain anything valuable or embarrassing, then you’re probably okay.

So who do we know for certain has been exerting active efforts to weaken internet security for several years?

…given how vital encryption is to online safety, we have to assume that the best and best-funded minds in online surveillance and hacking have been relentlessly probing OpenSSL over the years of its existence.

If the NSA has known about Heartbleed for a long time — or even a short time — then the surveillance-staters have possessed a kind a skeleton key to entire swaths of the internet. Part of the NSA’s mission, supposedly, is to protect us from things like this very bug. But it’s clear, based on the Snowden revelations, that the government’s concern for our individual privacy and security takes a distant back seat to its ability to spy on anyone and everyone.

So don’t be surprised to learn someday that the NSA and/or other western security agencies have been exploiting Heartbleed at home and abroad without bothering to alert us. Nor, for that matter, should you be shocked to learn at some point that well-heeled criminal cyber-gangs or the Chinese government’s talented hackers spotted the bug before white-hat hackers revealed it.

The raison d’etre of the US intelligence community is global economic advantage for, not to say dominance by, the largest American capitalist endeavors. Yet in this role it has failed miserably, creating security problems that are certain to be found and exploited, with financial costs that will be disproportionately born by exactly those corporations widely considered the avatars of next-generation American success. There can be no more convincing demonstration of a surveillance state run amok, cut loose even from its at best amoral principles and expanding simply because it can; and unless we do something to change its capabilities it will soon become the ultimate authoritarian regime operating on purely mechanical judgments and without any sense of human values. The SIngularity would be preferable.



Posted by Chuck Dupree at April 11, 2014 01:24 AM
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"The chief of the CIA’s Soviet Division described in a July 1958 memo why Dr. Zhivago was a threat to the Soviet government. The threat resided in “Pasternak’s humanistic message that every person is entitled to a private life and deserves respect as a human being.”

Tell that to the National Stasi Agency and to Homeland Security and to the detainees in Guantanamo and the CIA’s torture prisons. In the US individual privacy no longer exists. The NSA collects and stores every email, every credit card purchase, every telephone conversation, every Internet search, every use of social media of every citizen.

Pasternak had far more privacy than any American has today. Soviet travellers were not subjected to genital groping and porno-scanners. Penalties Soviet citizens paid for uttering truths inconvenient for the government were no more severe than the penalties imposed on Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, and Edward Snowden.

Today Russian citizens are more free to have private lives than are Americans, and the Russian press is more lively and more critical of government than the American press.

As I wrote in one of my columns, when communist East Germany dissolved, the Stasi moved to Washington.

Original title: ‘How the CIA Turned ‘Dr. Zhivago’ Into a Weapon’, courtesy Counterpunch.org"

Posted by: noseyparkerunit on April 11, 2014 9:02 AM
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