Warrantless Wiretaps By NSA Targeted Non-Terrorists, Journalists

If anybody ever had any doubt that the NSA, under orders from President Bush, were engaged in a massive illegal warrantless wiretapping scheme they can put those doubts to rest.

On NBC’s “Countdown” with Kieth Olberman Russel Tice, a former analyst for the NSA reveals that the Bush administration’s illegal spying campaign had a lot more going on than most people suspected or wanted to believe.

He reveals that the Bush administration specifically targeted “non-terrorist” groups for special surveillance and that journalists were specifically targeted.  Being targeted like this means more than just “they’re watching you”, it means that they are monitoring, recording, digitizing and archiving ALL of your communications.  Every phone call, every email, All of it.

All of this being done without benefit of probable cause, warrant, or even some kind of judicial order.  Every bit of it clearly in violation of the fourth amendment.  Also, when you watch this video, don’t forget that journalists were just one of many groups that were targeted by Bush administration’s illegal domestic spying program run by the NSA.

There are still LOADS of questions to consider about this.  To name just a very few: How many other groups were targeted?  What are those groups?  Will the Obama administration do anything to put a stop to this?  Will anything be done to prosecute those responsible for this?  Will “W” ever have to answer in court or before a Congressional or Senate committee for this?

I certainly would like to see at least some of the people directly responsible on the inside of a prison cell for a very long time.  (being a realistic person however, I’m not gonna hold my breath waiting.)

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FISA Court Rules Warrantless Wiretapping Legal

According to a NYTimes article, The Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance court (FISA) has going to issue a ruling that validates the Bush administration’s claim that the President does have the power to order the wiretapping of international phone calls and intercept email messages without any court order.

Never mind the fact that this is not only a severe invasion of Americans’ private communications and our right to privacy, never mind the fact that this warratless wiretapping program, is in direct violation of the fourth amendment, The good o’l boys on the FISA court say it’s ok.

Of course, those of us who haven’t overdosed on Decaslim and caused out brains to shrivel up like an overdone raisin know that this issue is far from settled.  It’s also plain that when it finally is settled, there are going to be some very surprised people making their way to federal prison where they will stay for a very long time.

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The Secret Room

EFF Desinger Hugh D’Andrade was recently asked to create mural-sized political cartoon at a show of experimental drawings and cartoons at the Mission Cultural Center in San Francisco.

For his subject, he chose to depict the “secret room” at AT&T’s Folsom Street facility.  This is one of the places where the Bush Administrations illegal domestic spying program was carried out as all of the internet traffic (websites people visited, searches performed, emails sent or received… EVERYTHING!) passing through the facility was copied and sent to the NSA.

While I think it was great that this cartoon got shown at such a high visibility venue, I think it might have more impact if it were to be printed on t-shirts, car covers, billboards and perhaps the front of houses and businesses all over America.  Heck, It ought to be copied by skywriters on a regular basis as well as appear on the front page of every newspaper in the country.

Anyway… Give this a watch and think about it.

Technorati Tags: political cartoon, bush administration, eff, nsa, illegal spying, domestic spying

Is Your Computer Spying On You?

I saw something on the Rachael Ray show today that I think has some
serious potential for problems that I’m sure that the folks advocating
it have considered. It was something called "Snoopstick". It’s sold as a
means of checking up on children and what they’re doing on the Internet.
I don’t doubt for a second that some companies use this or similar
products to monitor employee Internet usage as well.

On the surface of it, this sounds like a righteous thing, keeping kids
safe from predators and so on. Make no mistake, this use of things like
this is understandable and legitimate. The problem is that it’s entirely
too easy to use something like this for malicious purposes as well.

All that needs to happen is for somebody to gain access to your computer
long enough to plug in the snoopstick’s USB key and install it’s
monitoring software. After that, the device doesn’t even need to be
connected to your computer because it can be monitored remotely. While
it’s one thing to keep an eye on your kids and who they’re in contact
with, but it can easily be another matter if somebody gets a few minutes
to install it. This raises the possibility of all sorts of snooping on
financial & personal information, identity theft and more.

With that thought in mind I did a few minutes of searching and found a Symantec
security response page about Snoopstick
.

Here’s what Symantec had to say about it:

Updated: 23 February 2007 11:49:09 PM
Type: Spyware
Risk
Impact: Medium
Systems Affected: Windows 2000, Windows 95, Windows
98, Windows Me, Windows NT, Windows XP

Spyware.SnoopStick is
installed via a usb key, when the following file is executed:
[USB
DRIVE LETTER]\setup\SnoopStick.exe

Once this thing is installed, the person controlling it can monitor web
surfing, instant message, and email activities. They can also block
access to websites or cut Internet access, cause whoever’s on the
computer to be logged off whether they want to or not or even shut the
target computer down completely.

To determine if it’s been installed, you can look for these files:

  • C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application
    Data\{67E71F41-70D9-4823-8EC0-78BC232B5E7A}\instance.dat
  • C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application
    Data\{67E71F41-70D9-4823-8EC0-78BC232B5E7A}\mia.dll
  • C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application
    Data\{67E71F41-70D9-4823-8EC0-78BC232B5E7A}\SnoopStick.dat
  • C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application
    Data\{67E71F41-70D9-4823-8EC0-78BC232B5E7A}\SnoopStick.exe
  • C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application
    Data\{67E71F41-70D9-4823-8EC0-78BC232B5E7A}\SnoopStick.msi
  • C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application
    Data\{67E71F41-70D9-4823-8EC0-78BC232B5E7A}\SnoopStick.par
  • C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application
    Data\{67E71F41-70D9-4823-8EC0-78BC232B5E7A}\SnoopStick.res
  • C:\WINDOWS\Installer\[RANDOM NUMBER].msi
  • %System%\logs\ClientSSFileUpdater.txt
  • %System%\logs\CSSSWDDbgLog.txt
  • %System%\logs\SSDbgLog.txt
  • %System%\logs\Web070221.log
  • %System%\mslspcg.exe
  • %System%\smdnn05.dll
  • %Windir%\CSSSUpd.exe
  • %Windir%\CSSSWD.exe
  • %Windir%\SSCRG.exe
  • %Windir%\SSDGT.exe
  • %Windir%\SSLS.exe
  • %Windir%\SSMsgr.exe

Note: on most computers %System% in a path will be C:\Windows\System
and
%Windir% will be C:\Windows

It also creates these registry keys that set up it’s services:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Services\ChatRecMonSvc
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Services\SSLOGSVC
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Services\WS2IFSL
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\ChatRecMonSvc
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\SSLOGSVC
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\WS2IFSL
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Installer\Products\
    FA8950F240E56D941A25FD74A4AC2C8A
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\
    Uninstall\{2F0598AF-5E04-49D6-A152-DF474ACAC2A8}

If you find these files and registry keys, then I’d say it’s probable
that somebody has installed Snoopstick on your computer. Of course, If
you delete these files and registry keys this *should* disable this
little piece of spyware.

**Note: On Windows XP and higher It is likely that you will need
Administrator privileges in order to edit the registry and possibly to
delete the files. In any case, be very careful when editing the registry
because there is potential to do more harm than good. When in doubt,
consult a tech.

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WARNING: Data Retention Laws in The Works!

Once again Big Brother is on the march. This is another effort to
require ISP’s to keep logs of Web browsing, instant message exchanges,
and e-mail conversations … FOREVER. This means any email or Instant
Message you send, any website you visit will be recorded somewhere in a
log file and made available to law enforcement pretty much on demand.
I’m sure all of this is supposed to be subject to warrants and such, but
we all know that a little thing like a warrant isn’t necessarily going
to stand in the way of some organizations, don’t we?

GOP revives
ISP-tracking legislation

All Internet service providers would need to track their customers’
online activities to aid police in future investigations under
legislation introduced Tuesday as part of a Republican "law and order
agenda."

Employees of any Internet provider who fail to store that
information face fines and prison terms of up to one year, the bill
says. The U.S. Justice Department could order the companies to store
those records forever.

From a user’s point of view I take this as a sign that simply to protect
our rapidly vanishing privacy and use encryption technology a lot more.
It could be as simple a thing as using Gnu Privacy Guard or PGP to
encrypt emails, operating a TOR node and using TOR to surf the web and
other means of making certain that your surfing and communication habits
are as private as can be.

If you think about it, you’ll be amazed at some of the gaping holes that
have been eroded in our rights to privacy and civil liberties. Things
like the Homeland Security Act, The Patriot Act, Patriot Act II, The NSA
conducting illegal domestic spying, various government datamining
projects and of course, trying to enact Data Retention Laws.

Back when he was running for election the first time around, I voted for
Bush. I did so because at the time I believed that he was God’s chosen
man for the job. Since then things have changed and the Bush
administration has been directly or indirectly involved in a lot of our
freedoms being negatively affected….

Attorney
general to talk data retention with new Congress

Published: January 18, 2007, 2:49 PM PST

WASHINGTON–The
Bush administration plans to approach Congress again this year about
the possibility of new rules requiring Internet service providers to
retain information about their subscribers for a certain period of
time.

Well, as you can tell from the more recent story at the beginning of
this entry, we now know that "a certain period of time" should be
translated "Forever".

 



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