[Discussion] US and UK spy agencies defeat privacy and security on the internet

Robin Paulson robin at bumblepuppy.org
Mon Sep 9 22:26:58 NZST 2013

/On 2013-09-09 20:04, Jeremy Read wrote:
> realize it had been broken was the reason why WW2 was won by the
> allies. If this had not happened it is uncertain how the war would
> have ended.

well, ze germans may have been identified as the culprits post war, all 
neat and tidy like, but it's safe to say corruption, stupidity and greed 
by the government of britain and other european powers over the 18th, 
19th and early 20th century, played more than a minor role in both wars. 
perhaps if we hadn't had governments with those attitudes there would 
have been no wars, and again there would be no necessity to read 
people's mail?

to bring it into a modern context, and the war on terror (as an aside, 
terrorism is a form of war, so we are fighting a war on war...), the 
obama/blair/bush/cameron administrations say the spying is necessary, we 
need to protect everyone from bad people. again, british and american 
greed in the middle east is a gigantic part of that, there have been 
endless acts of violence, repression, etc. caused by the governments of 
those countries. are we really surprised people like al quaeda 
retaliate? perhaps if that lying f*** blair hadn't got us into iraq in 
2003, we wouldn't need to defend ourselves constantly from them, and 
there would be no necessity to read everyone's email for "protection".

adam curtis made an excellent documentary called "the power of 
nightmares", which says that politicians no longer entice us with 
promises of utopia, but with promises of protection from the bogey man, 
drawing particular references to blair and bush versus al quaeda. it's 
free and legal to download from:

> The general assumption is that all traffic can be intercepted by the
> NSA.
> I'm of the opinion that the NSA can decrypt all civilian ciphers.
> I'm of the opinion that RSA is broken, most likely through fast
> factoring of primes via some method.
> I'm of the opinion that the NSA can read Tor traffic, however
> recommends its use because nobody else currently can.
>  The NSA also intercepts emails from US politicians. Why? Well how
> else do you know if they're spies?

the above appears at least partly true, based upon earlier conversations 
around d-wave systems, and the info from the guardian/snowden

> And you'll find there are a lot of people happy about this. You'll
> even find a lot of support for pro-actively using the information they
> gather and giving it to the police for more minor offenses.

firstly, you really need to back that up. secondly, it doesn't make it 
right. anglo-saxon law/liberal democracy holds probable cause very 
highly as a protection against the state's power, that principle is 
being smashed here:
from wikipedia:
probable cause is "a reasonable amount of suspicion, supported by 
circumstances sufficiently strong to justify a prudent and cautious 
person's belief that certain facts are probably true". where is the 
probable cause here? mass collection of data (evidence gathering) is 
illegal, and at the very least breaks the social contract.

> And although people might not be happy with the NSA collecting their
> information, they'd be significantly less happy if they weren't.

which people? who have you asked? be careful of lumping billions of 
individuals together into a homogeneous mass, it's somewhat dehumanising

when do we get to decide? or do we always get treated as children: "we 
know what's best for you, now go back to watching X-factor and leave the 
important decisions to us"?


What the world needs now, is love sweet love

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