Net Neutrality, the principle that Internet operations should be free of government and big business control, is the fundamental precursor to free speech. On July 12, websites, Internet users, and hackers across the country will sound the alarm about the federal government’s newly invigorated attack on net neutrality.
The new Rule 41 dictate is going to be law and it's a doozy, both mind-boggling (for its stupidity) and stomach-churning (for its stupidity) at the same time. Effectively, what the law does is allow any judge, anywhere (including Podunk, Texas), to grant a warrant for electronic surveillance of any US citizen. If you thought the NSA spying fiasco was bad – you ain't seen nothing yet.
It’s a draft title Task Order Request for Cyberspace Operations Support Services in support of United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM). Oh, brother. That means the U.S. has bungled their cybersecurity so badly they’re now willing to outsource, and trust, this critical national security task to an outside contractor. Even a partner outside of the U.S. if they’re trusted status.
So how does the rest of the world see the United States government shutdown? From the outside, do we appear to be a bunch of buffoons too intent on losing face at the expense of productive legislative discussion? Is the shutdown feared as a threat to the world economy or as a precursor to the apocalypse? Or does the rest of the world simply not care about the private problems of the United States and our government leaders' inability to work together? Below is a collection of news snippets from countries around the world which mention or discuss the shutdown of the United States government.
Access to complete phone records of all Americans is only the tip of the iceberg. Details from whistleblower Edward Snowden recently revealed that a top-secret NSA program named “XKeyscore” allows National Security Agency analysts to search (with no prior authorization) through vast databases containing content of emails, online chats, social networking sessions, web content searches, websites visited of millions of Americans – everything that a person does over the Internet. The revelation comes via a secret XKeyscore training document that found its way into the public realm. From the document, we can deduce a bit about how XKeyscore works and the technology behind it.
Via a Freedom of Information request, the Department of Homeland Security has released a list of keywords and phrases it uses to monitor social networking sites and online media for signs of terrorist or other threats against the U.S. According to the released documents, these words are used to search for comments that "reflect adversely" on the government. Many words on the list would be expected but some have us scratching our heads. Let's just hope our leaders have an improved updated list and a use linguistics logic that doesn't simply scan for these keywords. Here's the complete list of words below.
The Operation Red October espionage campaign was exposed on Monday (1/14/13) by Russian anti-virus software maker Kaspersky Lab. The Red October network was found to target hundreds of diplomatic, governmental, and scientific organizations in at least 39 countries, including the Russian Federation (the most frequent target), Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Belgium, India, Afghanistan, Armenia, Turkmenistan, and the United States. It uses more than 60 domain names with multiple layers of proxy servers (to camouflage its core operations) and automatically creates an extension for Adobe Reader and Microsoft Word that provides hackers with a “foolproof” way to regain control of a compromised machine should the malware payload ever be removed. It was found that Red October has been running since 2007, presumably without discovery by governmental agencies. The main purpose of the campaign is to gather classified information and geopolitical intelligence.
In May 2012, the French government suffered two major cyberattacks, one of which required a complete rebuild of their network and hardware systems to repair. The attacks occurred between the day of the French Presidential election and the day incoming President François Hollande took office on May 15th. The sophistication of the attacks led authorities to suspect China as the attacker. But this week, a report in the French daily L'Express lays the blame solely on the back of the United States government (with no mention of the stupidity of the French officials who were hacked).
According to security experts, the electronic voting process is ripe for attack in 2012. Nation-state attacks have increased, voter databases are increasingly interconnected, and electronic voting systems are plagued with vulnerabilities creating a situation where the 2012 election process is a prime target for a hacker attack.