Sometimes I don’t know if I ought to laugh, cry, or just become a hermit and not follow the news…
Turns out that the USA / NSA was not just soaking up the phone calls of Ms. Merkel in Germany, but also those of the French leadership.
That fact is now leaked… and the French are livid.
In related news, the French parliament is passing a law to allow France to soak up all internet and communications traffic and without even a warrant needed.
Such an amazing juxtaposition, an unbelievable gift to those of us amused at the structural absurdity of what passes for human morality.
I thought of quoting the Guardian on this one, but I’ve not used The Blaze much, so I’m going to quote them, even though it just looks like they are quoting the BBC:
French President Calls Reported NSA Spying on the Country’s Top Leaders ‘Unacceptable’
Jun. 24, 2015 6:33am Liz Klimas
PARIS (TheBlaze/AP) — French President Francois Hollande is holding an emergency meeting of top lawmakers to discuss documents released by WikiLeaks that showed the U.S. National Security Agency spied on Hollande and his two predecessors.
Hollande called the NSA intercepts an “unacceptable” security breach.
France is one of several U.S. allies that rely heavily on American spying powers to prevent terrorist acts and other threats, but Hollande said the country would “not tolerate” such potential threats to its own security, BBC reported.
Just for Serioso, I’ll quote the NYT on this bit, though I heard on broadcast news that the bill had passed and this is about an earlier step, the NTY being a bit out of date on the story (not as fast as broadcast news…)
Lawmakers in France Move to Vastly Expand Surveillance
By ALISSA J. RUBINMAY 5, 2015
The lower house of the French parliament held a vote on Tuesday to adopt new surveillance rules. Credit Ian Langsdon/European Pressphoto Agency
PARIS — At a moment when American lawmakers are reconsidering the broad surveillance powers assumed by the government after Sept. 11, the lower house of the French Parliament took a long stride in the opposite direction Tuesday, overwhelmingly approving a bill that could give the authorities their most intrusive domestic spying abilities ever, with almost no judicial oversight.
The bill, in the works since last year, now goes to the Senate, where it seems likely to pass, having been given new impetus in reaction to the terrorist attacks in and around Paris in January. Those attacks, which included the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher grocery, left 17 people dead.
Here’s a source with The Latest. Just hours old. The law is now passed both houses and adopted.
French Parliament adopts law boosting surveillance powers
Published Wednesday, June 24, 2015 | 11:43 a.m.
Updated 11 hours, 15 minutes ago
PARIS (AP) — The French Parliament has adopted a controversial surveillance law aimed at broadening eavesdropping of terrorism suspects, despite protests from privacy advocates and concern about U.S.-style massive data sweeps.
Wednesday’s vote in the National Assembly, months in the making, came as French officialdom was decrying revelations less than a day earlier that the U.S. National Security Agency eavesdropped on three French presidents and senior officials.
The law won’t take effect until a court rules on whether it abides by France’s constitution.
The law will entitle intelligence services to place recording devices in suspects’ homes and beacons on their cars without prior authorization from a judge. It would also force communication and Internet firms to allow intelligence services to install electronic boxes to record metadata from all Internet users in France.
But hey, who needs any privacy…
Some Tech Talk
Guess it’s time to put together an “encrypt and tunnel out of the country to an external ISP” kit and publish the “how to” on it. Just using TOR is helpful and will do most of it. But putting that inside an encrypted VPN to an external site in another country gets you more. Yeah, they get to record that you have an encrypted link, and that it goes to the ISP “over there”, but “over there” is not in their jurisdiction… and then if they get inside the tunnel, they find an encrypted TOR link running. Slow, but hey, that’s the cost…
The Dongle Pi is useful for “internet cafe” type use:
With a disposable $10 wireless dongle and a disposable SD card (flash it as soon as you are done with a session for paranoid circumstances) and you can be pretty well clean with every boot. Dispose the dongle after any really critical use so there’s no hardware fingerprint (MAC address can be changed for “good enough” use most of the time, but to really be sure, just pitch it in the BBQ… or ocean… or…)
As Microsoft comes “pre hacked” to NSA specs (the encryption is known crackable) you simply must use open source, i.e. Linux or BSD based, systems for actual secure encryption. Also, since UEFI bootloader in newer PCs is 100 MB of black box, expect that is is pre-hacked under your OS, so get a system without it. Either an older PC, or a single board computer SBC like the R.Pi. Something where you can “flash the bootloader” with an open source one like SeaBIOS.
While I’ve not used it (so don’t know how English Friendly it is) nor have I looked through the code (so don’t know if there are any subtle Chinese hacks in it) there is also Kylin OS. Designed by the Chinese based on initially BSD, then a port to the Linux kernel done. Basically, after the Chinese found the NSA pre-hacks in all the shit they were getting from us, they made a system they expected to be secure against that crap. It is now used inside China. (Then they used what they learned to exploit the built in weaknesses in MS et. al. against the US Gov; thus the recent hacks. NSA, meet petard…) At any rate, you can get a Kylin Ubuntu version:
The link to the “community” there to help you is Chinese at the other end of the link… so probably a language problem for “help”. (One hopes the OS is still multi-lingual).
On my “someday” list was “make an English equivalent of Kylin”, but maybe that needs to be a French one instead… with built in automatic VPN / deep encryption / dark web access ready out of the box and torrified. (The Tails folks hate that idea, as one of the ‘defenses’ from their POV is that the OS has a very strictly limited set of programs so a small “attack surface” while also all being identical so things like fingerprinting a system via fonts installed and browsers used is impossible. I’m not that paranoid as I don’t do anything of interest, but their point is valid for hard core uses.)
UPDATE: Thought I’d add a couple of links to Tails information. The Amnesiac Incognito Live System. Be advised that just talking about them or going to their site now causes an interest in you; since it was used by Snowden in shipping out his ‘findings’. So I’m going to be “on a list” for talking about them. (Then again, I’m “on a list” for so many things already… likely started about 35 years ago when dating the daughter of a nuclear bomb lab’s head honcho…) So, general intro to Tails: https://blog.malwarebytes.org/privacy-2/2014/05/tails-the-amnesic-incognito-live-system/ and where to get it: https://tails.boum.org/. If you are really interested in privacy and security and not being tagged, bagged, and tracked; do the ‘looking at’ and ‘download’ using something like a Dongle Pi or disposable system at an open internet hot spot.
Well, one simply must laugh at the indignation of The French juxtaposed with their doing it more and with less oversight than the NSA uses.
It’s the direction the world is going. Welcome to the New KGB, same as the old KGB… just speaking more English and French…