WikiLeaks: A Country’s Name To Kill

An interesting ethical debate is taking place. FirstLook Media, the controversial and adversarial media outlet owned by PayPal’s inventor, has withheld the name of the 5th country the NSA collects recordings of all phone calls from. SOMALGET and MYSTIC are Top Secret programs revealed by the Snowden leaks from the NSA. Following on the earth shaking revelations of last year starting with the “metadata” gathering in the US called PRISM, MYSTIC is again changing Americans’ views of what their spy agencies are actually working toward.

I think WikiLeaks should reveal this information, and not because it’s likely to cause deaths, but because a Top Secret American program having a country name revealed more than a year after it was known to be compromised, is not a reason to redact it any longer. WikiLeaks is right, and the citizens of the violated nation have a human right to know the United States government was able to record every phone call. It wouldn’t be the first time a Top Secret American program has led to people dying, either.

People can then place the blame where it belongs for any deaths, at the feet of the NSA, and Bush/Obama, not simplistically on the WikiLeaks scapegoat.

Defending WikiLeaks and Whistleblowers

1:08:38 SFU History grad, Sean Tucker of Business Administration, “I don’t know if we need a Whistleblower policy on campus or something”.

An academic has their priorities askew if they don’t protect whistleblowing, even while its result is not directly in the immediate favour of their organization. Protecting the right to speak and hear the truth, is an important aspect of a functioning democracy and a transparent academic institution.

1:16:16 I speak my mind. I’d rather the University offer WikiLeaks server space, if there’s any sort of policy on whistle-blowing.

Blog Action Day 2013 – Human Rights #BAD13

On Friday I was invited to talk about blogging, on Regina’s community radio station CJTR. The show was Human Rights Radio by Jim and Gord, and we spent the hour going over what a blog is, why it’s useful to have one, and how it could be used to promote human rights. You can give a listen to it!

The second half of the show is on YouTube too, if you want to look at the ceiling for most of it:

Also, if you’re in Saskatchewan, check out the “Get Active with Amnesty” 2013 conference. I was a guest speaker for it last year when it was in Regina. This time it is in Moose Jaw.

This is the conference site.
And there is also a facebook event page you can use to invite friends.

Passwords Holding the Web Together

I noticed another person with a CIBC 2-factor authentication fob on their key chain last week. It displays a seemingly random number that actually only a special server knows, so if a password is stolen, so too must the fob containing the random number code that changes every minute. Without both the password, and the fob, a thief is unable to log into a stolen account.

Passwords make the Web work, so we can have ‘our’ stuff, and keep unwanted and very unwelcome people from viewing it and changing our own information. So a title like “Kill the Password: Why a String of Characters Can’t Protect Us Anymore” should be very, very concerning to people and businesses depending upon computers alike.

This Forbes headline caught my eye recently, and I have mixed feelings about it. “Kill the Password: Why a String of Characters Can’t Protect Us Anymore”. Is it going to work to keep computer information secure? My scepticism is sky-high following the Snowden leaks of NSA and related world spying agencies overstepping their constitutional bounds. Could we really design a technology where it’s secure enough to trust the government to implement it for us? I’d trust it only after an intelligent group of individuals who understand encryption very well, give it a thumbs-up. Someone who has worked with WikiLeaks, and works on an anonymous Web system called Tor is Jacob Appelbaum. If Jacob gave a system the thumbs up, or a thumbs down, I’d take his word for it. Even better, he could explain why a system works, or does not.

Is another security technology on the horizon going to change the Web almost overnight in a very drastic or revolutionary way? I wish I had the answers. Maybe the NSA has the answer already? We can’t trust them, however.

WikiLeaks: Suspected Snowden Plane Grounded & Embassy Bugged

Assange blasted Obama today for lying about his government’s interest in capturing Edward Snowden, the celebrated whistle-blower who exposed Obama’s administration as spying on all Americans (and the rest of the world). The plane of the Bolivian president was denied flight into previously friendly countries and diverted to Austria for an unexpected search!

Topping off the madness of the American President, was news that a listening bug was discovered in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

BONUS:
Clapper admits to misleading Congress, but claims it was an innocent mistake. What a tool, eh?

PRISM: Greenwald on CNBC

Encrypt your shit:

The world is not sliding, but galloping into a new transnational dystopia. This development has not been properly recognized outside of national security circles. It has been hidden by secrecy, complexity and scale. The internet, our greatest tool of emancipation, has been transformed into the most dangerous facilitator of totalitarianism we have ever seen. The internet is a threat to human civilization.
[...]
In the new space of the internet what would be the mediator of coercive force?
[...]
It is easier to encrypt information than it is to decrypt it.
[...]
Cryptography is the ultimate form of non-violent direct action.
[...]
No amount of coercive force will ever solve a math problem.

WikiLeaks: Snowden to Greenwald to Guardian

The Verizon phone taps, to Yahoo, Google, Skype, and more all owned by the US Government. These were things suspected by many (thanks to WikiLeaks), and now confirmed by the intentional whistle-blowing leak from the NSA. The man who told on his criminally misbehaving government? A 29 year old who didn’t want to live in such a fake society that says it’s all about protection of civil liberty, while violating that trust as a fact of daily business.

Remember there were illegal attacks on WikiLeaks’ infrastructure, with the top suspect being the US State Department.

BONUS:

Note that you should be following everyone on Twitter listed here, if you aren’t already (and use Twitter). (At least with Twitter, you understand already that your postings are all public broadcasts and thus subject to monitoring.)

WikiLeaks: Special Project K is for Kissinger

https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/321097232516542464

Soon, as media and bloggers sift through the new leaks, there will be revelations to help clarify history and better understand how the United States ended up where it is today.

WikiLeaks: Major Revelations Is What Journalists Do – See @carwinb

There’s some crow to eat this morning, for anti-Assange, anti-Wikileaks people.

Last year we got confirmation in the form of a WikiLeaks-Strafor leak of all things, that Assange had been secretly indicted in the US, for his journalism.

On January 26, 2011, Fred Burton, the vice president of Stratfor, a leading private intelligence firm which bills itself as a kind of shadow CIA, sent an excited email to his colleagues. “Text Not for Pub,” he wrote. “We” – meaning the U.S. government – “have a sealed indictment on Assange. Pls protect.”

The news, if true, was a bombshell.

Well, it’s true. It’s not unexpected if you follow people who actually care about journalism and the truth. And it’s led to Assange being trapped in various prisons in and near London, while the UK, Swedish, American, and Australian legal and political systems toy with his freedom.

The American admission that they are still seeking to charge Assange with crimes, despite his activity falling under First Amendment protection for journalists, demonstrates the reason he’s opted to stay out of a Swedish jail.

The Swedish prosecutor who refused to travel to London to interview Assange in order to proceed with the case they want to build against him, has LEFT the case.

AA’s lawyer has been fired, and a new one has been chosen and approved by the court. AA is one of Assange’s accusers in Sweden.

And more shocking, a Swedish judge is set to speak publicly about what he’d do if he was directly handling Assange’s case! Just this week, Toronto’s Mayor Ford ended up in hot water for making radio comments about an active case in the Canadian justice system.

Speaking to Fairfax Media, Mr Assange condemned Judge Lindskog’s planned discussion of his case.

“If an Australian High Court judge came out and spoke on a case the court expected or was likely to judge, it would be regarded as absolutely outrageous,” he said.

“This development is part of a pattern in which senior Swedish figures, including the Swedish Foreign Minister, the Prime Minister and Minister for Justice, have all publicly attacked me or WikiLeaks.”

Justice Lindskog is chairman of the Supreme Court of Sweden, the country’s highest court of appeal. In announcing his forthcoming lecture, Adelaide University observed that “as one of Sweden’s most eminent jurists, he is uniquely able to provide an authoritative view of the Assange affair”.

… which is precisely why it’s not supposed to happen in public, until at least the accused has been acquitted if charged. Assange has still not even been charged with a crime in Sweden, so he can’t even formally defend his innocence in the matter. If he submits to the politically motivated extradition to Sweden, he’s justified in knowing that Sweden will eventually send him on to face political charges in the United States. Continue reading