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The World Affairs, Both Highlighted & Not

Discussion in 'Chit-Chat' started by kelana, Jun 17, 2013.

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  1. kelana

    kelana Regular Member

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    Here I will start a thread for miscellaneous news in today's world, any news that is interesting whether it's highlighted or being pushed out of the mainstream media limelight. Loh's thread 'Singapore Also Can' gives the inspiration to this new thread, with attention to the various world affairs in any aspect!
     
  2. kelana

    kelana Regular Member

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    Wendi Deng: Rupert Murdoch files for divorce from third wife


    Rupert Murdoch has 'jaw-dropping' reason for divorcing Wendi Deng



    Twittersphere lights up with feverish speculation over mogul’s wife’s links to other powerful men amid looming inheritance tussle


    Saturday, 15 June, 2013 [UPDATED: 2:27PM]

    Staff Reporters and The New York Times


    [​IMG]




    • [​IMG]
    Rupert Murdoch and wife Wendi Deng. Photo: Reuters


    The reason behind Rupert Murdoch's decision to divorce his wife of 14 years, Wendi Deng Murdoch was "jaw-dropping', it was claimed yesterday.

    Twitter was awash with speculation as to why the 82-year-old media mogul filed for divorce on Thursday, with the New York court filing stating that the relationship had "broken down irretrievably".

    Robert Peston, a BBC financial correspondent said to be close friends with key Murdoch executives, yesterday hinted at a shocking reason, writing on Twitter: "Undisclosed reasons for Murdoch divorcing Deng are jaw-dropping".

    Murdoch biographer Michael Wolff added to the speculation on Twitter: "I'm hearing the why, the big reveal, the scandal details, could come tomorrow".

    Everyone is trying to figure it out ... Everyone is wondering what went wrong
    MICHAEL WOLFF, BIOGRAPHER

    Wolff told The Guardian newspaper: "I think he genuinely loved her. Everyone is wondering what went wrong."

    There was no comment from the Murdoch camp.

    Questions swirling around about Deng's reportedly close friendships with various powerful men began circulating on the internet soon after news of the divorce broke.

    Yesterday, a spokesman for former British prime minister Tony Blair flatly denied media rumours that Deng was romantically involved with him, The Hollywood Reporter said on its website. It said other names linked to Murdoch's wife, included MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe, and Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt.

    Whatever the reason for the split, friends of the couple have noticed for the past several years that they seemed to live separate lives. She developed an interest in producing films, and he busied himself steering his US$73 billion media empire, News Corp.

    By most accounts, the couple had grown apart and spent long periods away from one another, but people close to the Murdochs did not expect Murdoch to divorce his Chinese-born wife. Such a move would be too messy financially, and it wouldn't be good for their daughters - Grace, 11, and Chloe, 9 - said sources who would only discuss their marriage anonymously.

    Deng, born in Jiangsu , found global fame in July 2011 after leaping to attack a protester who threw a pie at her husband during a House of Commons select committee hearing in London into the News International phone-hacking scandal. She gained the nickname "tiger wife".

    [​IMG]
    Click to enlarge


    The couple, who met at a Hong Kong cocktail party in 1997, were in New York at their Fifth Avenue penthouse when news of the divorce, said to be his decision, emerged. A spokeswoman for News Corp confirmed the divorce filing and said it would have no impact on the company.

    The Murdoch family controls 38.4 per cent of News Corp's voting shares. Deng has no financial stake in the firm.

    It could prove to be a highly contentious split. Murdoch's divorce in 1998 from his second wife, Anna, cost US$1.7 billion, including US$110 million in cash.

    The divorce filing comes as Murdoch - a former owner of the South China Morning Post, which he sold in 1993 - readies News Corp for a split into two companies on June 28. Entertainment assets such as Fox Broadcasting, Fox News and the Hollywood studio will form 21st Century Fox. Publishing assets including The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, Harper Collins and a handful of Australian TV assets will form the new News Corp.

    Murdoch first met Deng, 44, in 1998 on a business trip. A recent graduate of the Yale School of Management, she was working at Star TV, a unit of News Corp with a news headquarters in Hong Kong.

    Murdoch hosted a "town hall meeting" and fielded a tough question about his company's China strategy from an eager and well-prepared Deng.

    That year Murdoch and his wife of more than three decades, Anna, separated. The couple had three children, Lachlan, James and Elisabeth. Murdoch divorced his first wife, Patricia, in 1967. They had one daughter, Prudence.

    In 1999, Murdoch married Deng in front of 82 guests aboard his 50-metre yacht, the Morning Glory, in New York Harbour.

    As head of Star TV, James Murdoch worked with his new mother-in-law to help build News Corp's presence in China. Deng slowly began to win his respect, said a person close to the family.

    In 2006, a marital battle erupted after Murdoch declared in a TV interview that while Grace and Chloe would have an economic interest in the family's trust, they would not have the same voting rights as his four other children. It was the first time Deng had heard this.

    His six children have equal shares in the firm through a family trust, but only Prudence, Lachlan, James and Elisabeth can appoint trustees for it, giving them control over it when he dies.

    Several people close to the Murdochs pointed to the battle over Grace and Chloe's inheritance as a sign that future fights could ensue over how his net worth - which Forbes estimates at US$11.2 billion - is divided.

    Additional reporting by The Guardian


    This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as Murdoch split fires up rumour mill

    http://www.scmp.com/news/world/arti...-has-jaw-dropping-reason-divorcing-wendi-deng


    Related links:

    Wendi Deng: Rupert Murdoch files for divorce from third wife | The Guardian
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2013/jun/13/rupert-murdoch-divorce-wendi-deng

    Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng Murdoch: irretrievable breakdown | Michael Wolff | guardian.co.uk
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentis...rt-murdoch-wendi-deng-irretrievable-breakdown

    The mythical $1.7bn of Rupert Murdoch's second divorce | Michael Wolff | guardian.co.uk
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/17/mythical-rupert-murdoch-divorce



     
  3. kelana

    kelana Regular Member

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    Edward Snowden: The PRISM Whistle-blower


    EXCLUSIVE:
    Whistle-blower Edward Snowden talks to South China Morning Post


    Ex-CIA contractor speaks to reporter from secret location in Hong Kong, revealing fresh details of US surveillance, pressure on Hong Kong, snooping and cyber attacks on China.

    [​IMG]
    Edward Snowden has revealed more details of US surveillance operations

    Surveillance whistle-blower Edward Snowden has spoken for the first time since blowing his own cover in an exclusive interview with the South China Morning Post.

    The ex-CIA analyst has been holed up in secret locations in Hong Kong since fleeing Hawaii ahead of highly sensitive leaks revealing details of US top-secret phone and internet surveillance of its citizens.

    Snowden's actions have been both praised and condemned globally.

    More... Edward Snowden: US government has been hacking Hong Kong and China for years

    More... Whistle-blower Edward Snowden tells SCMP: 'Let Hong Kong people decide my fate'


    But he told Post reporter Lana Lam: "I'm neither traitor nor hero. I'm an American."

    Today, he reveals:

    • more explosive details on US surveillance targets
    • his plans for the immediate future
    • the steps he claims the US has taken since he broke cover in Hong Kong
    • his fears for his family

    The 29-year-old was working for defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton at the National Security Agency (NSA), the biggest spy surveillance organisation in the world, when he leaked information claiming the US was systematically seizing vast amounts of phone and web data. Snowden fled to Hong Kong after using Britain’s Guardian newspaper to expose the agency’s PRISM program which gives officials easy access to data held by nine of the world’s top internet companies, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Skype.

    “People who think I made a mistake in picking HK as a location misunderstand my intentions. I am not here to hide from justice; I am here to reveal criminality,” Snowden told the Post earlier today.

    He vowed to fight any extradition attempt by the US government, saying: “My intention is to ask the courts and people of Hong Kong to decide my fate. I have been given no reason to doubt your system.’’

    It is believed the US is pursuing a criminal investigation, but no extradition request has yet been filed. Hong Kong has an extradition treaty with the US, although analysts say any attempts to bring Mr Snowden to America may take months and could be blocked by Beijing.

    His actions have been both praised and condemned globally, with some hailing him a hero while others a traitor. Some senators have accused Snowden of treason.

    2013.06.13
    http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/...ower-edward-snowden-talks-south-china-morning


    FEW related links:

    NSA leak fallout: LIVE UPDATES | RT.com

    Published time: June 10, 2013 15:49
    Edited time: June 17, 2013 17:22

    Former CIA contractor Edward Snowden has carried out one of the biggest leaks in US history, exposing a top-secret NSA surveillance program to the media. Leading tech companies were revealed to be involved in intelligence gathering through PRISM spy tool.

    http://rt.com/usa/nsa-leak-snowden-live-updates-482/


    Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations | guardian.co.uk (2013-06-09)

    "I realised that I was part of something that was doing far more harm than good... The NSA routinely lies in response to Congressional inquiries about scope of surveillance in America. The NSA is intent on making EVERY CONVERSATION and EVERY FORM OF BEHAVIOUR IN THE WORLD known to them.... What they're doing poses an EXISTENTIAL THREAT to democracy."

    ~ Edward Snowden, 29, PRISM Whistleblower

    "Finally, we would like to thank Snowden for putting a nail into the coffin of all those who use the term "CONSPIRACY THEORIST" PEJORATIVELY. Because whatever his motives, whatever the outcome of this dramatic escalation between the people's right to know and a government intent on HIJACKING ALL CIVIL LIBERTIES one by one, Snowden has showed that the distance from Conspiracy Theory to CONSPIRACY FACT is just one ethical judgment away."

    • Q&A with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: 'I do not expect to see home again'

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/09/edward-snowden-nsa-whistleblower-surveillance


    Apple, Google, Microsoft and 6 other companies reportedly feeding NSA, FBI info through data sharing pact [Updated] - The Next Web (2013-06-07)

    Today the Washington Post reported that through a $20 million program known as PRISM, a number of US-based Internet companies have allowed the US government to tap “directly into [their] central servers.” Companies that are said to be participating knowingly include: Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple, Yahoo, AOL, PalTalk, with Dropbox tipped to be coming up next.

    http://thenextweb.com/insider/2013/...directly-feed-user-data-to-the-us-government/


    Inside the United States | The GlobalPost
    GlobalPost goes inside the United States to uncover the regime’s dramatic descent into authoritarian rule and how the opposition plans to fight back.

    This is satire. Although the news is real, very little actual reporting was done for this story and the quotes are imagined. It is the first installment of an ongoing series that examines the language journalists use to cover foreign countries. What if we wrote that way about the United States?

    http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/...-journalists-covered-us-like-they-cover-world


    The Guardian's reporter, Glenn Greenwald's twitter feed
    https://twitter.com/ggreenwald

    The news related to PRISM at Twitter:
    https://twitter.com/search?q=PRISM

    The NSA revelations and Obama’s “pivot to Asia”
    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/06/17/pivo-j17.html

    Startpage Web Search
    https://startpage.com/eng/prism-program-exposed.html



    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    "For the first time he perceived that if you want to keep a secret you must also hide it from yourself.” - George Orwell, English Novelist and Essayist, 1903-1950 in "1984" - Welcome to Oceania - http://www.george-orwell.org/1984/0.html









     
  4. Justin L

    Justin L Regular Member

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    Friend kelana, I applaud your move. Good job. Keep it up.:):)
     
  5. pcll99

    pcll99 Regular Member

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    Good job!!! :)
     
  6. kelana

    kelana Regular Member

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    The New York Times - Der Spiegel - Foreign Policy on BIG BRO's clouts on the Internet


    The Latest Breaking News about Edward Snowden | Edward Snowden
    http://edward-snowden.net/


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    Web’s Reach Binds N.S.A. and Silicon Valley Leaders

    By JAMES RISEN and NICK WINGFIELD

    Published: June 19, 2013 178 Comments

    WASHINGTON — When Max Kelly, the chief security officer for Facebook, left the social media company in 2010, he did not go to Google, Twitter or a similar Silicon Valley concern. Instead the man who was responsible for protecting the personal information of Facebook’s more than one billion users from outside attacks went to work for another giant institution that manages and analyzes large pools of data: the National Security Agency.

    Mr. Kelly’s move to the spy agency, which has not previously been reported, underscores the increasingly deep connections between Silicon Valley and the agency and the degree to which they are now in the same business. Both hunt for ways to collect, analyze and exploit large pools of data about millions of Americans.

    The only difference is that the N.S.A. does it for intelligence, and Silicon Valley does it to make money.

    The disclosure of the spy agency’s program called Prism, which is said to collect the e-mails and other Web activity of foreigners using major Internet companies like Google, Yahoo and Facebook, has prompted the companies to deny that the agency has direct access to their computers, even as they acknowledge complying with secret N.S.A. court orders for specific data.

    Yet technology experts and former intelligence officials say the convergence between Silicon Valley and the N.S.A. and the rise of data mining — both as an industry and as a crucial intelligence tool — have created a more complex reality.

    Silicon Valley has what the spy agency wants: vast amounts of private data and the most sophisticated software available to analyze it. The agency in turn is one of Silicon Valley’s largest customers for what is known as data analytics, one of the valley’s fastest-growing markets. To get their hands on the latest software technology to manipulate and take advantage of large volumes of data, United States intelligence agencies invest in Silicon Valley start-ups, award classified contracts and recruit technology experts like Mr. Kelly.

    “We are all in these Big Data business models,” said Ray Wang, a technology analyst and chief executive of Constellation Research, based in San Francisco. “There are a lot of connections now because the data scientists and the folks who are building these systems have a lot of common interests.”

    Although Silicon Valley has sold equipment to the N.S.A. and other intelligence agencies for a generation, the interests of the two began to converge in new ways in the last few years as advances in computer storage technology drastically reduced the costs of storing enormous amounts of data — at the same time that the value of the data for use in consumer marketing began to rise. “These worlds overlap,” said Philipp S. Krüger, chief executive of Explorist, an Internet start-up in New York.

    The sums the N.S.A. spends in Silicon Valley are classified, as is the agency’s total budget, which independent analysts say is $8 billion to $10 billion a year.

    Despite the companies’ assertions that they cooperate with the agency only when legally compelled, current and former industry officials say the companies sometimes secretly put together teams of in-house experts to find ways to cooperate more completely with the N.S.A. and to make their customers’ information more accessible to the agency. The companies do so, the officials say, because they want to control the process themselves. They are also under subtle but powerful pressure from the N.S.A. to make access easier.

    Skype, the Internet-based calling service, began its own secret program, Project Chess, to explore the legal and technical issues in making Skype calls readily available to intelligence agencies and law enforcement officials, according to people briefed on the program who asked not to be named to avoid trouble with the intelligence agencies.

    Project Chess, which has never been previously disclosed, was small, limited to fewer than a dozen people inside Skype, and was developed as the company had sometimes contentious talks with the government over legal issues, said one of the people briefed on the project. The project began about five years ago, before most of the company was sold by its parent, eBay, to outside investors in 2009. Microsoft acquired Skype in an $8.5 billion deal that was completed in October 2011.

    A Skype executive denied last year in a blog post that recent changes in the way Skype operated were made at the behest of Microsoft to make snooping easier for law enforcement. It appears, however, that Skype figured out how to cooperate with the intelligence community before Microsoft took over the company, according to documents leaked by Edward J. Snowden, a former contractor for the N.S.A. One of the documents about the Prism program made public by Mr. Snowden says Skype joined Prism on Feb. 6, 2011.

    Microsoft executives are no longer willing to affirm statements, made by Skype several years ago, that Skype calls could not be wiretapped. Frank X. Shaw, a Microsoft spokesman, declined to comment.

    In its recruiting in Silicon Valley, the N.S.A. sends some of its most senior officials to lure the best of the best. No less than Gen. Keith B. Alexander, the agency’s director and the chief of the Pentagon’s Cyber Command, showed up at one of the world’s largest hacker conferences in Las Vegas last summer, looking stiff in an uncharacteristic T-shirt and jeans, to give the keynote speech. His main purpose at Defcon, the conference, was to recruit hackers for his spy agency.

    N.S.A. badges are often seen on the lapels of officials at other technology and information security conferences. “They’re very open about their interest in recruiting from the hacker community,” said Jennifer Granick, the director of civil liberties at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society.

    But perhaps no one embodies the tightening relationship between the N.S.A. and the valley more than Kenneth A. Minihan.

    A career Air Force intelligence officer, Mr. Minihan was the director of the N.S.A. during the Clinton administration until his retirement in the late 1990s, and then he ran the agency’s outside professional networking organization. Today he is managing director of Paladin Capital Group, a venture capital firm based in Washington that in part specializes in financing start-ups that offer high-tech solutions for the N.S.A. and other intelligence agencies. In effect, Mr. Minihan is an advanced scout for the N.S.A. as it tries to capitalize on the latest technology to analyze and exploit the vast amounts of data flowing around the world and inside the United States.

    The members of Paladin’s strategic advisory board include Richard C. Schaeffer Jr., a former N.S.A. executive. While Paladin is a private firm, the American intelligence community has its own in-house venture capital company, In-Q-Tel, financed by the Central Intelligence Agency to invest in high-tech start-ups.

    Many software technology firms involved in data analytics are open about their connections to intelligence agencies. Gary King, a co-founder and chief scientist at Crimson Hexagon, a start-up in Boston, said in an interview that he had given talks at C.I.A. headquarters in Langley, Va., about his company’s social media analytics tools.

    The future holds the prospect of ever greater cooperation between Silicon Valley and the N.S.A. because data storage is expected to increase at an annual compound rate of 53 percent through 2016, according to the International Data Corporation.

    “We reached a tipping point, where the value of having user data rose beyond the cost of storing it,” said Dan Auerbach, a technology analyst with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an electronic privacy group in San Francisco. “Now we have an incentive to keep it forever.”

    Social media sites in the meantime are growing as voluntary data mining operations on a scale that rivals or exceeds anything the government could attempt on its own. “You willingly hand over data to Facebook that you would never give voluntarily to the government,” said Bruce Schneier, a technologist and an author.


    James Risen reported from Washington, and Nick Wingfield from Seattle. Kitty Bennett contributed reporting.


    ================================================================


    Berlin Profits from US Spying Program and Is Planning Its Own - SPIEGEL ONLINE (2013-06-17)

    The German government has been largely silent on revelations of US Internet spying. Berlin profits from the program and is pursuing similar plans.

    Just a few days ago, the man whom many Germans now see as one of the greatest villains in the world visited Berlin. Keith Alexander, the head of the world's most powerful intelligence operation, the National Security Agency (NSA), had arranged meetings with important representatives of the German government, including top-ranking officials in Germany's intelligence agencies and leading representatives of the Chancellery and the Interior Ministry.

    Alexander gave his usual presentation about how the world could be more effectively spied on and allegedly made safer. At such presentations, the NSA chief likes to extol the virtues of his agency's "incredible technical expertise," and he urges allies to invest more in controlling and monitoring today's new technologies. Alexander maintains there has to be more intensive surveillance of the Internet.

    But while they were still chatting about the Internet in Berlin government offices, news stories were breaking around the world that Alexander's NSA may already have the Web firmly under its control. A former US intelligence official named Edward Snowden had leaked information to the press on the virtually all-encompassing Prism online surveillance program.

    The world soon learned that Alexander's NSA, with the help of direct access to the servers of US Internet giants, is able to secretly read, record and store nearly every type of digital communication worldwide. The public also discovered that the Americans have a preference for spying on Germany -- more so than on any other country in Europe. During the days of the Cold War, when Germans referred to the US as "big brother" it had a positive connotation. Now, that term has an entirely different meaning.

    Snowden's leak raises important questions: How much surveillance of the Internet is a free society willing or able to tolerate? Does the fear of attacks justify a comprehensive monitoring of e-mails, search queries on Google and conversations on Skype? And can a country like Germany allow its citizens to be spied on by another country?

    ...

    http://www.spiegel.de/international...program-and-is-planning-its-own-a-906129.html


    * * * * *

    Gaff Gone Viral: Merkel Mocked for Calling Internet 'Neuland' (2013-06-20)

    [​IMG]Chancellor Angela Merkel's 'Neuland' gaff is now trending on Twitter.

    Chancellor Merkel described the Internet as "uncharted territory" on Wednesday while answering a question about the Prism spying program at an appearance with US President Obama. Now "Neuland" is a fully formed meme, and Merkel's gaff has gone viral.

    While Barack Obama's whirlwind visit to Berlin largely resulted in good publicity for the president, his German counterpart, Chancellor Angela Merkel, wasn't so lucky. A comment she made during a joint press conference on Wednesday has gone viral in Germany and been met with a wave of ridicule on Twitter.

    When asked about her response to the Prism data spying scandal involving the National Security Agency (NSA), Chancellor Merkel commented that the Internet is "Neuland" -- uncharted territory -- "for all of us.

    Within minutes, #Neuland was trending on Twitter, and as of Thursday morning, the meme continues to grow, inspiring custom images, gifs and countless cracks at the chancellor, who is up for re-election in September.

    "A new era has begun -- The Internet has finally reached Germany!!" tweeted @S_ButterFinger.

    "Angela Merkel at Obama meeting: 'The Internet is virgin soil [#Neuland] for all of us.' How distant can politics get?" added [MENTION=3648]jerry[/MENTION]weyer on the social media platform.

    Sigmar Gabriel, the leader of the opposition center-left Social Democrats, used the gaff as an occasion to poke fun at the Christian Democratic chancellor. "I actually feel quite good for the most part in this #Neuland," he tweeted on Wednesday.

    Merkel's spokesman took to the Web in Merkel's defense, tweeting that she was talking about a "legal and political Neuland."

    http://www.spiegel.de/international...icule-and-goes-viral-on-twitter-a-906859.html



    MORE on PRISM related stories at SPIEGEL ONLINE:
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/search/index.html?suchbegriff=PRISM


    ================================================================


    Inside the NSA's Ultra-Secret China Hacking Group

    Deep within the National Security Agency, an elite, rarely discussed team of hackers and spies is targeting America's enemies abroad.

    BY MATTHEW M. AID | JUNE 10, 2013

    [​IMG]

    This weekend, U.S. President Barack Obama sat down for a series of meetings with China's newly appointed leader, Xi Jinping. We know that the two leaders spoke at length about the topic du jour -- cyber-espionage -- a subject that has long frustrated officials in Washington and is now front and center with the revelations of sweeping U.S. data mining. The media has focused at length on China's aggressive attempts to electronically steal U.S. military and commercial secrets, but Xi pushed back at the "shirt-sleeves" summit, noting that China, too, was the recipient of cyber-espionage. But what Obama probably neglected to mention is that he has his own hacker army, and it has burrowed its way deep, deep into China's networks.

    When the agenda for the meeting at the Sunnylands estate outside Palm Springs, California, was agreed to several months ago, both parties agreed that it would be a nice opportunity for President Xi, who assumed his post in March, to discuss a wide range of security and economic issues of concern to both countries. According to diplomatic sources, the issue of cybersecurity was not one of the key topics to be discussed at the summit. Sino-American economic relations, climate change, and the growing threat posed by North Korea were supposed to dominate the discussions.

    Then, two weeks ago, White House officials leaked to the press that Obama intended to raise privately with Xi the highly contentious issue of China's widespread use of computer hacking to steal U.S. government, military, and commercial secrets. According to a Chinese diplomat in Washingtonwho spoke in confidence, Beijing was furious about the sudden elevation of cybersecurity and Chinese espionage on the meeting's agenda. According to a diplomatic source in Washington, the Chinese government was even angrier that the White House leaked the new agenda item to the press before Washington bothered to tell Beijing about it.

    So the Chinese began to hit back. Senior Chinese officials have publicly accused the U.S. government of hypocrisy and have alleged that Washington is also actively engaged in cyber-espionage. When the latest allegation of Chinese cyber-espionage was leveled in late May in a front-page Washington Post article, which alleged that hackers employed by the Chinese military had stolen the blueprints of over three dozen American weapons systems, the Chinese government's top Internet official, Huang Chengqing, shot back that Beijing possessed "mountains of data" showing that the United States has engaged in widespread hacking designed to steal Chinese government secrets. This weekend's revelations about the National Security Agency's PRISM and Verizon metadata collection from a 29-year-old former CIA undercover operative named Edward J. Snowden, who is now living in Hong Kong, only add fuel to Beijing's position.

    But Washington never publicly responded to Huang's allegation, and nobody in the U.S. media seems to have bothered to ask the White House if there is a modicum of truth to the Chinese charges.

    It turns out that the Chinese government's allegations are essentially correct. According to a number of confidential sources, a highly secretive unit of the National Security Agency (NSA), the U.S. government's huge electronic eavesdropping organization, called the Office of Tailored Access Operations, or TAO, has successfully penetrated Chinese computer and telecommunications systems for almost 15 years, generating some of the best and most reliable intelligence information about what is going on inside the People's Republic of China.

    Hidden away inside the massive NSA headquarters complex at Fort Meade, Maryland, in a large suite of offices segregated from the rest of the agency, TAO is a mystery to many NSA employees. Relatively few NSA officials have complete access to information about TAO because of the extraordinary sensitivity of its operations, and it requires a special security clearance to gain access to the unit's work spaces inside the NSA operations complex. The door leading to its ultramodern operations center is protected by armed guards, an imposing steel door that can only be entered by entering the correct six-digit code into a keypad, and a retinal scanner to ensure that only those individuals specially cleared for access get through the door.

    According to former NSA officials interviewed for this article, TAO's mission is simple. It collects intelligence information on foreign targets by surreptitiously hacking into their computers and telecommunications systems, cracking passwords, compromising the computer security systems protecting the targeted computer, stealing the data stored on computer hard drives, and then copying all the messages and data traffic passing within the targeted email and text-messaging systems. The technical term of art used by NSA to describe these operations is computer network exploitation (CNE).


    TAO is also responsible for developing the information that would allow the United States to destroy or damage foreign computer and telecommunications systems with a cyberattack if so directed by the president. The organization responsible for conducting such a cyberattack is U.S. Cyber Command (Cybercom), whose headquarters is located at Fort Meade and whose chief is the director of the NSA, Gen. Keith Alexander.
    Commanded since April of this year by Robert Joyce, who formerly was the deputy director of the NSA's Information Assurance Directorate (responsible for protecting the U.S. government's communications and computer systems), TAO, sources say, is now the largest and arguably the most important component of the NSA's huge Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) Directorate, consisting of over 1,000 military and civilian computer hackers, intelligence analysts, targeting specialists, computer hardware and software designers, and electrical engineers.

    The sanctum sanctorum of TAO is its ultramodern operations center at Fort Meade called the Remote Operations Center (ROC), which is where the unit's 600 or so military and civilian computer hackers (they themselves CNE operators) work in rotating shifts 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    These operators spend their days (or nights) searching the ether for computers systems and supporting telecommunications networks being utilized by, for example, foreign terrorists to pass messages to their members or sympathizers. Once these computers have been identified and located, the computer hackers working in the ROC break into the targeted computer systems electronically using special software designed by TAO's own corps of software designers and engineers specifically for this purpose, download the contents of the computers' hard drives, and place software implants or other devices called "buggies" inside the computers' operating systems, which allows TAO intercept operators at Fort Meade to continuously monitor the email and/or text-messaging traffic coming in and out of the computers or hand-held devices.

    TAO's work would not be possible without the team of gifted computer scientists and software engineers belonging to the Data Network Technologies Branch, who develop the sophisticated computer software that allows the unit's operators to perform their intelligence collection mission. A separate unit within TAO called the Telecommunications Network Technologies Branch (TNT) develops the techniques that allow TAO's hackers to covertly gain access to targeted computer systems and telecommunications networks without being detected. Meanwhile, TAO's Mission Infrastructure Technologies Branch develops and builds the sensitive computer and telecommunications monitoring hardware and support infrastructure that keeps the effort up and running.

    TAO even has its own small clandestine intelligence-gathering unit called the Access Technologies Operations Branch, which includes personnel seconded by the CIA and the FBI, who perform what are described as "off-net operations," which is a polite way of saying that they arrange for CIA agents to surreptitiously plant eavesdropping devices on computers and/or telecommunications systems overseas so that TAO's hackers can remotely access them from Fort Meade.

    It is important to note that TAO is not supposed to work against domestic targets in the United States or its possessions. This is the responsibility of the FBI, which is the sole U.S. intelligence agency chartered for domestic telecommunications surveillance. But in light of information about wider NSAsnooping, one has to prudently be concerned about whether TAO is able to perform its mission of collecting foreign intelligence without accessing communications originating in or transiting through the United States.

    Since its creation in 1997, TAO has garnered a reputation for producing some of the best intelligence available to the U.S. intelligence community not only about China, but also on foreign terrorist groups, espionage activities being conducted against the United States by foreign governments, ballistic missile and weapons of mass destruction developments around the globe, and the latest political, military, and economic developments around the globe.

    According to a former NSA official, by 2007 TAO's 600 intercept operators were secretly tapping into thousands of foreign computer systems and accessing password-protected computer hard drives and emails of targets around the world. As detailed in my 2009 history of NSA, The Secret Sentry, this highly classified intercept program, known at the time as Stumpcursor, proved to be critically important during the U.S. Army's 2007 "surge" in Iraq, where it was credited with single-handedly identifying and locating over 100 Iraqi and al Qaeda insurgent cells in and around Baghdad. That same year, sources report that TAO was given an award for producing particularly important intelligence information about whether Iran was trying to build an atomic bomb.

    By the time Obama became president of the United States in January 2009, TAO had become something akin to the wunderkind of the U.S. intelligence community. "It's become an industry unto itself," a former NSA official said of TAO at the time. "They go places and get things that nobody else in the IC [intelligence community] can."

    Given the nature and extraordinary political sensitivity of its work, it will come as no surprise that TAO has always been, and remains, extraordinarily publicity shy. Everything about TAO is classified top secret codeword, even within the hypersecretive NSA. Its name has appeared in print only a few times over the past decade, and the handful of reporters who have dared inquire about it have been politely but very firmly warned by senior U.S. intelligence officials not to describe its work for fear that it might compromise its ongoing efforts. According to a senior U.S. defense official who is familiar with TAO's work, "The agency believes that the less people know about them [TAO] the better."

    The word among NSA officials is that if you want to get promoted or recognized, get a transfer to TAO as soon as you can. The current head of the NSA's SIGINT Directorate, Teresa Shea, 54, got her current job in large part because of the work she did as chief of TAO in the years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when the unit earned plaudits for its ability to collect extremely hard-to-come-by information during the latter part of George W. Bush's administration. We do not know what the information was, but sources suggest that it must have been pretty important to propel Shea to her position today. But according to a recently retired NSA official, TAO "is the place to be right now."

    There's no question that TAO has continued to grow in size and importance since Obama took office in 2009, which is indicative of its outsized role. In recent years, TAO's collection operations have expanded from Fort Meade to some of the agency's most important listening posts in the United States. There are now mini-TAO units operating at the huge NSA SIGINT intercept and processing centers at NSA Hawaii at Wahiawa on the island of Oahu; NSA Georgia at Fort Gordon, Georgia; and NSA Texas at the Medina Annex outside San Antonio, Texas; and within the huge NSA listening post at Buckley Air Force Base outside Denver.

    The problem is that TAO has become so large and produces so much valuable intelligence information that it has become virtually impossible to hide it anymore. The Chinese government is certainly aware of TAO's activities. The "mountains of data" statement by China's top Internet official, Huang Chengqing, is clearly an implied threat by Beijing to release this data. Thus it is unlikely that President Obama pressed President Xi too hard at the Sunnydale summit on the question of China's cyber-espionage activities. As any high-stakes poker player knows, you can only press your luck so far when the guy on the other side of the table knows what cards you have in your hand.

    Inside the NSA's Ultra-Secret China Hacking Group - By Matthew M. Aid | Foreign Policy


    Related links:

    Matthew Aid
    http://www.matthewaid.com/



    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    "First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
    Then they came for the socialists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
    Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me."


    "The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater." - Frank Zappa
     
  7. taneepak

    taneepak Regular Member

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    Sometimes certain contentious topics bring out Big Brother.

    I will not be surprised that topics about Snowden and NSA will be closely monitored.
    Or even apparently harmless topics such as Singapore Also Can can attract the attention of Big Brother.

    I believe the real reason why the US had earlier made such a big fuss about China's cyber attack on US military sites is that in this area the US may not have any great advantage over China, and certainly no where near the great disparity between their military capability. But such military advantage can be neutralized by cyber attack.
    China does not use the global system of communication for their government or even the GPS system. They know this a long time ago. That is why China is using their own Quantum communications system, a state of the art next generation quantum encryption technology. The NSA's network backbones method of hacking without the host knowing does not work with this new system.

    I think Obama must have been deeply embarrassed when he brought up this in his meeting with Xi, because Xi probably came with loads of evidence about China being a victim of US cyber attack too.

    The joint statement they both issued on cyber hacking was very even-ended and the US probably went away with red faces.
     
  8. kelana

    kelana Regular Member

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    Detroit in pictures and news


    ABANDONED SKYSCRAPERS


    DETROIT, MICHIGAN

    Even the central business district in Downtown Detroit is not immune to abandonment. It is unclear just how much vacant office space there is in the central business district, but there are a handful of skyscrapers that are currently completely empty and abandoned: The Book Building, David Broderick Tower, and The Lafayette Building to name a few. Those buildings are pictured in this gallery.

    [​IMG]
    1. Two abandoned towers in downtown Detroit.


    [​IMG]2. Book Tower, the 9th tallest building in Detroit, is completely abandoned.


    [​IMG]
    3. Facade of the abandoned Book Tower.


    [​IMG]4. Bus terminal, and the one light still burning atop abandoned Book Tower.


    [​IMG]5. The David Broderick Tower in downtown Detroit is completely abandoned.


    [​IMG]
    6.
    Book Tower, the 9th tallest building in Detroit, is completely abandoned.


    [​IMG]
    7. Only one light in the stairwell of this abandoned tower remains on.



    "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.



    Water lily in Exponential growth

    French children are told a story in which they imagine having a pond with water lily leaves floating on the surface. The lily population doubles in size every day and if left unchecked will smother the pond in 30 days, killing all the other living things in the water. Day after day the plant seems small and so it is decided to leave it to grow until it half-covers the pond, before cutting it back. They are then asked, on what day that will occur. This is revealed to be the 29th day, and then there will be just one day to save the pond.


    Detroit Municipal Crisis (2013-06-14)

    Eventually the money runs out. Much of America was shocked when the city of Detroit defaulted on a $39.7 million debt payment and announced that it was suspending payments on $2.5 billion of unsecured debt. Anyone with caution and information could see this coming from a mile away. But people kept foolishly lending money to the city of Detroit, and now many of them are going to get hit really hard.

    Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr has submitted a proposal that would pay unsecured creditors about 10 cents on the dollar. Similar haircuts would be made to underfunded pension and health benefits for retirees. Orr is hoping that the creditors and the unions that he will be negotiating with will accept this package, but he concedes that there is still a "50-50 chance" that the city of Detroit will be forced to formally file for bankruptcy.

    "The fiscal crisis in Michigan is setting up as a gigantic clash between bondholders and city retirees over what money Detroit has left to pay them. Public finance experts have warned that broad societal problems could follow a loss of faith in municipalities' commitments to honor their pledges."
     
  9. pcll99

    pcll99 Regular Member

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  10. kelana

    kelana Regular Member

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    CONTRARIAN VIEW about the Snowden case by Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley

    Here's a bit shocking CONTRARIAN VIEW about the Snowden case as elaborated by Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley, an expert of authority in this field.

    Webster G. Tarpley, Ph.D. - June 18, 2013

    "There is ample reason to believe that the case of Edward Joseph Snowden fits into this pattern. We are likely dealing here with a limited hangout operation, in which carefully selected and falsified documents and other materials are deliberately revealed by an insider who pretends to be a fugitive rebelling against the excesses of some oppressive or dangerous government agency."


    Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley - Biography

    Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, 1946. A philosopher of history, Tarpley seeks to provide the strategies needed to overcome the current world crisis. He first became widely known for his book George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography (1992), a masterpiece of research which is still a must read. During 2008, he warned of the dangers of an Obama presidency controlled by Wall Street with Obama: The Postmodern Coup, The Making of a Manchurian Candidate and Barack H. Obama: The Unauthorized Biography. His interest in economics is reflected in Surviving the Cataclysm: Your Guide Through the Worst Financial Crisis in Human History Against Oligarchy. His books have appeared in Japanese, German, Italian, French, and Spanish. Tarpley holds a Ph.D. in early modern history from the Catholic University of America.

    Dr. Tarpley is an occasional contributor at GlobalResearch (Canada) and Asia Times as well.
     
  11. kelana

    kelana Regular Member

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    Gordon Duff | Veterans Today

    Additional info and analysis about 'Elvis' recent highlighted shows are also available at Gordon Duff's collection of articles at Veterans Today. ( i like the alias, pcll99 :p )

    Gordon Duff is a Marine Vietnam veteran, a combat infantryman, and Senior Editor at Veterans Today. His career has included extensive experience in international banking along with such diverse areas as consulting on counter insurgency, surveillance technologies, intelligence analysis,defense technologies or acting as a UN diplomat and "special consultant."
     
  12. kelana

    kelana Regular Member

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    US Supreme Court in Historic Rulings on Gay Marriage


    Is this an effective, carefully laid out non-violent way to help depopulation of the Earth?


    For sure this very hot topic will stir plenty of much heated debates (in particular among the religious societies) that will drive away the attention of the sheer number of American population from the many core issues...



    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    US high court hands win to gay couples

    27 JUN 2013, 9:48 AM - SOURCE: AAP

    In a landmark decision, the US Supreme Court has overturned a 17-year-old anti-gay federal law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

    In a huge victory for gays and lesbians, the US Supreme Court has struck down a law denying federal benefits to homosexual couples and cleared the way for same-s ex marriage in California.

    Cheers rang out among the estimated 1000 supporters of same-s ex marriage who gathered under brilliant sunshine outside the high court in Washington for the historic rulings, which will have a major impact on US society.

    In a 5-4 decision, the court first struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denied federal benefits to married gay and lesbian couples by strictly defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

    "DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment" of the Constitution, said the majority opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy.

    President Barack Obama hailed the DOMA decision, saying in a statement: "We are a people who declared that we are all created equal - and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well."

    The court also said a case on Proposition 8, a 2008 voter initiative in California that prohibited same-s ex marriage in the nation's most populous state, was not properly before them.

    That 5-4 decision - which indicated gay marriages would likely resume in California - enabled the justices to dodge the thornier issue of whether same-s ex marriage is a constitutional right throughout the US.

    Twelve US states plus the District of Columbia now recognise same-s ex marriage, but about 30 states have decreed that marriage can only exist between a man and a woman.

    "Now we will be married and be equal to every other family in California," said Kris Perry, a plaintiff in the Proposition 8 case, alongside her partner Sandy Stier on the Supreme Court steps.

    "Thank you to the Constitution ... but it's not enough," added Stier. "It's got to go nationwide. This can't wait decades" for marriage equality to be legalised in all 50 states.

    Fifty-three per cent of Americans say same-s ex marriage should be legally recognised, according to a Gallup survey in May that echoed a string of similar findings by other polling organisations.

    GAY MARRIAGE


    RELATED




    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    The US Supreme Court ruled against the 17-year-old anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act


    In what is likely to cause a storm of controversy, the Supreme Court ruled against the 17-year-old anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act:


    • *DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT PROVISION STRUCK DOWN BY TOP U.S. COURT
    • *SUPREME COURT VOTES 5-4 ON U.S. DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT
    • *COURT SAYS MARRIAGE LAW VIOLATES EQUAL PROTECTION GUARANTEE

    Kennedy: DOMA "humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-s ex couples"

    Scalia: "By formally declaring anyone opposed to same-s ex marriage an enemy of human decency, the majority arms well every challenger to a state law restricting marriage to its traditional definition,"

    "DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment."


    Full Timeline of Gay Marriage (via Global Post):

    Following is a timeline of important events in the history of gay marriage in the United States.

    1969
    - The modern gay liberation movement unofficially kicks off with the Stonewall Riots, demonstrations by gays in response to a police raid in New York City.

    1972
    - The U.S. Supreme Court lets stand a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling that the law does not allow for same-s ex marriage, and that the issue is different from interracial marriage.

    1973
    - Maryland becomes the first state to pass a statute banning gay marriage.

    1977
    - Harvey Milk becomes the first openly gay elected official in San Francisco, winning a seat on the Board of Supervisors. He later appeals to gays to come out and run for office, saying "for invisible, we remain in limbo." Milk was shot and killed in 1978.

    1986
    - The U.S. Supreme Court says "we are quite unwilling" to find a fundamental right to sodomy, even in the privacy of one's home, in Bowers v. Hardwick ruling.

    1996
    - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy writes an opinion striking down a Colorado ban on protections for gays, saying the ban "seems inexplicable by anything but animus."

    - President Bill Clinton signs the Defense of Marriage Act, defining marriage as between a man and a woman for federal purposes.

    1997
    - Comedian Ellen DeGeneres reveals she is gay. Shortly afterward, her TV situation comedy character says "I'm gay" - inadvertently speaking into an airport public address system.

    1998
    - Debut of television show "Will and Grace" about a gay man and his best friend, a straight woman.

    2000
    - Vermont becomes the first U.S. state to allow civil unions for same-s ex couples.

    - Republican vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney, who has a lesbian daughter, indicates he supports gay marriage, saying "freedom means freedom for everybody" and "people should be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to enter into." He said states should regulate the matter, not the federal government. Cheney serves as vice president for eight years.

    2003
    - The U.S. Supreme Court, in another decision written by Kennedy, strikes down Texas anti-sodomy law in Lawrence v. Texas case and reverses the 1986 Bowers ruling. Kennedy writes that this does not mean the government must recognize gay relationships. "Do not believe it," Justice Antonin Scalia dissents, saying the logic of the opinion points to allowing same-s ex marriage.

    - The Massachusetts Supreme Court rules in favor of same-s ex marriage, and gay weddings begin in 2004.

    2004
    - San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom directs the county to allow same-s ex marriages, arguing the state's voter-approved ban on gay marriage, Proposition 22, is unconstitutional. The state Supreme Court stops the weddings on grounds unrelated to the constitutionality of marriage.

    2005
    - U.S. northern neighbor Canada allows gay marriage.

    2008
    - California gay marriages become legal when the California Supreme Court strikes down the Proposition 22 ban. That November, voters add a ban to the state constitution - Proposition 8 - ending a summer of gay marriage.

    2009
    - Iowa state Supreme Court legalizes same-s ex marriage.

    - Federal court challenge to Proposition 8 filed, days before California Supreme Court lets Proposition 8 stand as a valid change to the state constitution. Eventually, federal district and appeals courts agree to strike down the ban, which heads to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    2010
    - The U.S. Congress passes legislation to end a policy put in place in 1993 called "don't ask don't tell" that had barred gays from serving openly in the U.S. military. President Barack Obama signs the measure. The policy officially ends in 2011.

    2012
    - Obama becomes the first U.S. president to endorse gay marriage, acknowledging that his views on the matter had evolved.

    - North Carolina approves a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in May. In November, Maine, Maryland and Washington become the first states where voters approve same-s ex marriage, and Minnesota rejects a new ban.

    2013
    - The U.S. Supreme Court in March hears oral arguments on the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

    - The Boy Scouts of America organization votes in May to lift a century-old ban on openly gay scouts in a victory for gay rights activists. A prohibition on openly gay adult leaders remains in place.

    - Minnesota, Rhode Island and Delaware in May become the latest U.S. states to allow same-s ex couples to marry, bringing to 12 the number of states permitting it. The other states allowing same s ex marriage are: Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington state, as well as the District of Columbia.

    - Supreme Court Strikes down DOMA...



     
    #12 kelana, Jun 26, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2013
  13. kelana

    kelana Regular Member

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    The illusion of deposit insurance


    The FDIC Illusion of Insured Bank Deposits


    This infographic shows the size of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's Fund vs. the total deposits FDIC covers.


    The Illusion of Deposit Insurance

    This article visualizes the illusion of safety.
    There is ~370 times more money in deposits at US banks than the size of the Federal Deposit Insurance Fund. FDIC almost went bankrupt during the 2008/9 crisis.

    [​IMG]
    $100 Dollars

    $100 - Most counterfeited money denomination in the world. Keeps the world moving.



    [​IMG]
    $10,000 Dollars

    $10,000 - Enough for a great vacation or to buy a used car.
    Approximately one year of work for the average human on earth.



    [​IMG]
    $1 Million Dollars

    $1,000,000 - Not as big of a pile as you thought, huh?
    Still, this is 92 years of work for the average human on earth.



    [​IMG]
    $100 Million Dollars

    $100,000,000 - Plenty to go around for everyone.
    Fits nicely on an ISO / Military standard sized pallet.

    The couch is made from $46.7 million of crispy $100 bills.

    $100 Million Dollars could provide 2000 jobs @ $50,000 / year

    Here are 2000 people standing shoulder to shoulder, looking for a job.
    The Federal Reserve's mandate is to maintain price stability and low unemployment.
    The Federal Reserve prints money based on the assumption that increasing money supply will boost jobs.

    [​IMG]
    $100 Million Dollars

    Enough to keep 2000 people employed for 1 year @ $50,000 / year



    [​IMG]
    $1 Billion Dollars

    $1,000,000,000 - You will need some help when robbing the bank.
    Interesting fact: $1 million dollars weighs 10kg exactly.
    You are looking at 10 tons of money on those pallets.


    FDIC Building - San Francisco
    [​IMG]
    $25 Billion - FDIC Insurance Fund


    $25 Billion - FDIC - Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Fund

    FDIC insures 7,181 financial institutions. The FDIC is funded by financial institutions that pay for deposit insurance coverage.

    During the 1980's/1990's savings and loan crisis, a parallel insurer- the FSLIC (Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation) went bankrupt.
    The FSLIC replacement named RTC was merged into the FDIC. The savings and loan crisis cost tax payers $150 Billion.

    The FDIC takes control of failed banks and financial institutions, where it first moves to find a buyer of all the bank's assets, including the toxic ones. After the sale of assets (including toxic, usually at discounted prices) the FDIC attempts to cover losses. The FDIC will first pay-out all insured accounts, followed by
    applying “hair-cuts” to uninsured deposits. Safe deposit boxes, bond holders, stocks, money funds, etc. are not insured by FDIC.

    Due to bank failures during the 2008/2009 bank crisis, the FDIC fund fell to $0.648 billion by August of 2009. Subsequent bank failures almost bankrupted the FDIC, so it demanded a 3 year pre-payment from banks to shore up its capital. Wikipedia - "According to the FDIC.gov website (as of March 2013), 'FDIC deposit insurance is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.'"
    This is less than clear, since there are no laws binding the U.S. government to make good on FDIC insurance liabilities.
    The details of FDIC are found on Wikipedia | Source Wikipedia & ZeroHedge


    [​IMG]
    The Five "High Towers" (left to right): Citibank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America (the rightmost).

    . . .

    US Bank Deposits vs. Currency in Circulation

    The discrepancy between deposits and currency in circulation is shown above. This means in the case of a nationwide bank run in United States, the Cyprus-style hair-cut on deposits ( a.k.a. deposit confiscation) would be over 80% for US commercial bank deposits. There are not enough dollars circulating to cover all deposits if they were to be pulled at the same time. In case of bank runs this means withdrawal limits at ATMs and FDIC trying to help out to cover the losses.

    Source: ZeroHedge



    United States Derivative Exposure
    $300 Trillion ($300,000 Billions)


    Derivatives are wild financial bets made by banks order to speculate or hedge risk,
    ranging from stocks, bonds all the way to weather. In essence a casino-style bet.
    The total notional derivative exposure of the top 25 holding companies is $297,514 Billion.
    Notional means "a small amount of money controlling a large position"

    Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Citibank and others have a massive derivative exposure and have moved its derivatives into FDIC insured accounts due to their downgraded credit ratings.

    Bank of America alone moved $75 Trillion to FDIC insured accounts.
    There's a lot of legal jargon in the way of protecting depositors before derivative
    counter-parties. In the 2008 crash it was derivatives based on likelihood that
    debt would be paid that triggered the global economic crisis of 2008.
    The high rollers of Las Vegas don't know how to roll compared to bankers.
    The viability of FDIC to save a large scale bank failure is in question.


    [​IMG]
    $300 Trillion ($300,000 Billions) - Total US Financial Derivative Exposure

    April 2013

    http://demonocracy.info/infographics/usa/fdic/fdic.html
     
  14. kelana

    kelana Regular Member

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    European Politicians Are Realizing – Blackmail is the Game | Armstrong Economics


    European Politicians Are Realizing – Blackmail is the Game


    Posted on July 1, 2013 by Martin Armstrong
    [​IMG]


    "This is not about terrurizts. This is about monitoring society and blackmailing politicians to do as the unelected bureaucracy demands."

    Behind the Curtain politicians are targets NOT TERRURIZTS and the agenda is to blackmail them to direct the political changes the UNELECTED bureaucracy demands. This is the real object of collecting absolutely everything.


     
  15. pcll99

    pcll99 Regular Member

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    Facts sometimes are more bizarre than fictions.
     
  16. kelana

    kelana Regular Member

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    perhaps we simply live inside a Matrix world ... or within a giant Orwellian state ;)


    "You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes."
     
  17. pcll99

    pcll99 Regular Member

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    Edward Snowden is giving all of us the red pills to take. Would u take it?
     
  18. kelana

    kelana Regular Member

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    US Spying on EU – A Big Charade?

    US Spying on EU – A Big Charade?

    EU state leaders have knowingly and willingly agreed to let the American intelligence services spy on European citizens.

    ”It’s clear that the European parliament must intervene at this point through a public inquiry.” - Simon Davies

    [​IMG]

    According to some “angry” EU politicians are we now faced with prospects of a breaking trade pact between the US and the European Union worth hundreds of billions following allegations that Washington bugged key EU offices and intercepted phone calls and emails from top officials. Some of those top officials are now raising their voices in anger, demanding explanations, apologies, etc., from top US officials. But it seems like they all knew about it, and excepted it.

    Well, just a couple of hours ago there was an aftershock.

    The documents, seen by the Observer, show that – in addition to the UKDenmark, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy have all had formal agreements to provide communications data to the US. They state that the EU countries have had “second and third-party status” under decades-old signal intelligence (Sigint) agreements that compel them to hand over data which, in later years, experts believe, has come to include mobile phone and internet data.

    Under the international intelligence agreements, nations are categorised by the US according to their trust level. The US is defined as ‘first party’ while the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand enjoy ‘second party’ trusted relationships. Countries such as Germany and France have ‘third party’, or less trusted, relationships.

    . . .

    2013.06.30
     
  19. kelana

    kelana Regular Member

    Joined:
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    Secret Maps of the Ancient World - Charlotte Harris Rees

    Some less covered views, esp. not by the establishments...

    The Asiatic Fathers of America
    http://www.asiaticfathers.com/


    [TABLE]
    [TR]
    [TD="colspan: 2"]“In 2006 Charlotte Harris Rees published an abbreviated edition of her father’s The Asiatic Fathers of America. Through her painstaking research she went on to publish two more books of her own - Secret Maps of the Ancient World and now Chinese Sailed to America Before Columbus: More Secrets from the Dr. Hendon M. Harris, Jr. Map Collection. Both of these books are the results of much more evidence that was gathered by the author in her extensive research and tireless scholarly pursuit. These books are recommended reading for all who are interested in revisiting world history in a new light.”

    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="width: 25%"]

    [/TD]
    [TD="width: 75%"]Dr. Hwa-Wei Lee, Former Chief, Asian Division, Library of Congress (Retired);
    Dean Emeritus, Ohio University Libraries
    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]
    [TABLE]
    [TR]
    [TD]
    [​IMG]
    Charlotte Rees and Dr.Hwa-Wei Lee
    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]

    More about Dr. Hendon M. Harris, Jr. and Charlotte Harris Rees
    http://www.asiaticfathers.com/about.htm



    OTHER LINKS


    Reviews of “Secret Maps of the Ancient World” | Gavin Menzies
    http://www.gavinmenzies.net/media/reviews-of-secret-maps-of-the-ancient-world/

    This website serves as a focal point for ongoing research into pre-Columbian voyages to the New World. Our research team was set up to receive and disseminate all information received via this website.


    Secret 4000 year old Maps of The Ancient World — State of Globe
    http://stateofglobe.com/2012/09/26/secret-4000-year-old-maps-of-the-ancient-world-youtube/

    by Hans Christian Faerden on September 26, 2012

    Secret 4000 year old Maps of The Ancient World

    The longer we study the real history of this world, not only the history of the winners, the more we will understand how much no one ever told us. I do not know the truth about this map, but there is a lot of info available suggesting that there must have been very special cultures here on earth back then.



    Secret 4000 year old Maps of The Ancient World

    Published on Sep 25, 2012 by DiscloseTruthTV

    Researcher Charlotte Harris Rees discussed Asian maps (see below) dating as far back as 4,000 years ago that show the coastlines of the Americas. Picking up on the work of her father who collected these maps, she suggested that the ancient Chinese were seafaring and traveled to America far before Columbus' arrival. As further evidence, she cited genetic markers that are shared only by Asians and Native Americans.


    Background

    Charlotte Harris Rees, author of 'Secret Maps of the Ancient World' embarked on an exciting journey of discovery after finding out that her late father, Dr. Hendon Harris Jr. (the author of The Asiatic Fathers of America), had been right: the Chinese were in America thousands of years before Columbus. Charlotte's book lays out overwhelming evidence (including DNA tests) in support of her father's conclusions.

    For years after his death in 1981, Dr. Harris' map collection lay forgotten in a box under his son's bed. Hoping to verify their accuracy, Charlotte and her brother took the maps to the Library of Congress in 2003, where they have been studied for the last few years.

    In this exciting segment, Charlotte tells us how DNA sampling can reveal the entire migration history of a people, recounts her experiences with the Library of Congress, and shares her thoughts on why this startling discovery has been overlooked despite having been in plain sight. This is a great time to rethink history and to step into the thrill of discovery. Join us in this modern-day adventure!


    "I never said that my family's maps are 4000 years old but that they are copies of copies of copies of maps that date back 4000 years. They are related to a Chinese geographical account that old. Our particular maps are Ming dynasty. Still old, but that would date back almost 500 years."

    - Charlotte Harris Rees ~ http://www.harrismaps.com



    “Secret Maps of the Ancient World“

    In 1972, Dr. Hendon M. Harris Jr., a third generation missionary born in Kaifeng China, was browsing in an antique shop in Korea when he came across an very old cartography book comprised of wood block-printed maps outlining ancient settlements in Korean. When he flipped through the pages, there was a map of the world. This map was Chinese. The Korean name for that type map is Ch’onhado meaning “Chinese map.” This map of the world not only documented known major land masses such as Asia, India, Africa Australia and Europe – many by their ancient names – also included both the continents of North and South America. Most shocking was that this map showed words describing China’s fabled Fu Sang written in an area on what is now called North America.

    [​IMG]


    Prior to his death in 1981, Harris had collected 7 of these map books and found 23 other similar maps of this style in prestigious museums and collections around the world. The oldest of the Harris maps are believed to be from the Ming dynasty but the world map in each edition is now thought to have descended from a much earlier Chinese map.

    In 2003, Charlotte Harris Rees, together with her brother, Hendon III, took the Harris Map Collection to Dr. John Hebert, Chief of Geography and Maps at the Library of Congress. The maps were there for three years while they were studied. Charlotte Harris Rees, initially a skeptic, published /Secret Maps of the Ancient World/ in 2008. Endorsed by Dr. Hwa-Wei Lee, retired Chief of the Asian division of the Library of Congress, her extensive research puts forward a compelling case that ancient mapmakers from Asia came to the Americas and documented the terrain of the New World long before the arrival of Columbus.



    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    "The history of a nation is, unfortunately, too easily written as the history of the dominant class." - Kwame Nkrumah

    "History is written by the victors." - Winston Churchill
     
  20. kelana

    kelana Regular Member

    Joined:
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    The Code Has Been Inserted Into Android OS, Or 3/4 Of All Smartphones


    The NSA Has Inserted Its Code Into Android OS, Or Three Quarters Of All Smartphones

    07/09/2013

    [​IMG]

    Over a decade ago, it was discovered that the NSA embedded backdoor access into Windows 95, and likely into virtually all other subsequent internet connected, desktop-based operating systems. However, with the passage of time, more and more people went "mobile", and as a result the #NSA had to adapt. And adapt they have: as Bloomberg reports,
    "The #NSA is quietly writing code for Google’s Android OS."

    Is it ironic that the same "don't be evil" Google which went to such great lengths in the aftermath of the #Snowden scandal to wash its hands of snooping on its customers and even filed a request with the secretive FISA court asking permission to disclose more information about the government’s data requests, is embedding #NSA code into its mobile operating system, which according to IDC runs on three-quarters of all smartphones shipped in the first quarter? Yes, yes it is. Btw FISA is shortened for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

    Google spokeswoman Gina Scigliano confirms that the company has already inserted some of the #NSA’s programming in Android OS. "All Android code and contributors are publicly available for review at source.android.com." Scigliano says, declining to comment further.

    From Bloomberg:

    Through its open-source Android project, Google has agreed to incorporate code, first developed by the agency in 2011, into future versions of its mobile operating system, which according to market researcher IDC runs on three-quarters of the smartphones shipped globally in the first quarter. #NSAofficials say their code, known as Security Enhancements for Android, isolates apps to prevent hackers and marketers from gaining access to personal or corporate data stored on a device. Eventually all new phones, tablets, televisions, cars, and other devices that rely on Android will include #NSA code, agency spokeswoman Vanee’ Vines said in an e-mailed statement. #NSA researcher Stephen Smalley, who works on the program, says, “Our goal is to raise the bar in the security of commodity mobile devices.”

    See, there's no need to worry: the reason the #NSA is generously providing the source code for every Google-based smartphone is for your own security. Oh but it's open-sourced, so someone else will intercept any and all attempts at malice. We forgot.

    The story continues:

    In a 2011 presentation obtained by Bloomberg Businessweek, Smalley listed among the benefits of the program that it’s “normally invisible to users.” The program’s top goal, according to that presentation: “Improve our understanding of Android security.”

    Well one wouldn't want their bug to be visible to users now, would one...

    Vines wouldn’t say whether the agency’s work on Android and other software is part of or helps with #PRISM. “The source code is publicly available for anyone to use, and that includes the ability to review the code line by line,” she said in her statement. Most of the #NSA's suggested additions to the operating system can already be found buried in Google’s latest release—on newer devices including Sony’s Xperia Z, HTC’s One, and Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S4 (YES SAMSUNG as well, they must know about #NSA code in Android used in their Smartphones). Although the features are not turned on by default, according to agency documentation, future versions will be. In May the Pentagon approved the use of smartphones and tablets that run Samsung’s mobile enterprise software, Knox, which also includes #NSA programming, the company wrote in a June white paper. Sony, HTC, and Samsung declined to comment.

    [No wonder the USA govt banned the hardware made by Huawei and ZTE... "less friendly and cooperative" can't join the big guy league :D / :me ]

    But that's not all:

    The #NSA developed a separate Android project because Google’s mobile OS required markedly different programming, according to Smalley’s 2011 presentation. Brian Honan, an information technology consultant in Dublin, says his clients in European governments and multinational corporations are worried about how vulnerable their data are when dealing with U.S. companies. The information security world had been preoccupied with Chinese hacking until recently, Honan says. “With #PRISM, the same accusations can be laid against the U.S. government.”

    In short: the (big brother supervised) fun never stops in Stasi 2.0 world. Just buy your 100 P/E stocks, eat your burgers, watch your Dancing With The Stars, pay your taxes, and engage in as much internet contact with other internet-addicted organisms as possible and all shall be well.

    Oh, and from this...

    [​IMG]
    To this (courtesy of @paradism_)

    [​IMG]


    * * * * * * *

    SEE ALSO:


    # A newly revealed #PRISM slide ~ Two Types of Collection: Upstream and #PRISM


    [​IMG]



    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Some notes:


    # NSA spy scandal: It’s even worse than Snowden says | Veterans Today
    2013.06.29

    Like Julian Assange, Edward Snowden is a media-trumpeted whistleblower hero. Like Assange, Snowden has striking, TV-star good looks. Like Assange, Snowden is involved in a dramatic TV-style chase across countries and continents.

    It’s almost like Assange and Snowden are starring in their own reality-TV shows.


    With all the hoopla about Snowden (and before him, Assange), it’s easy to forget all of the other whistleblowers who have revealed even more explosive information.

    Consider two other NSA whistleblowers: Russ Tice and James Bamford.

    Russ Tice is a former NSA intelligence analyst who has also worked for the US Air Force, the Office of Naval Intelligence, and the Defense Intelligence Agency. He was a real US intelligence insider, many pay grades above rookie contractor Edward Snowden.
    . . .
    If the mainstream media publicized the most dangerous whistleblowers, the American National Security State would come crashing down.


    # How The Snowden Leaks And NSA Surveillance Are Bad For Business | Forbes

    2013.07.09

    Reddit general manager Erik Martin noticed something strange when he was at a conference in Latvia last month. There was a contest held, with a prize of one year’s free web-hosting for a small business — a decent value, a fairly normal prize. But when it came time to award it, nobody in the audience wanted it. It was from a U.S.-based company, and this was just days after Edward #Snowden's landmark leaks about the #NSA's #PRISM program hit the press. With that hanging over them, people at the conference would have preferred to go with a different country.

    There’s a general sense of unease about the U.S. government’s relationship to the internet right now, and it’s starting to affect how international consumers choose their web services. I talked with Christian Dawson, head of hosting company Servint and co-founder of the Internet Infrastructure Coalition, a group founded to inform the public and lawmakers about, as he puts it, how the internet works. He says that while it’s hard to put together any true statistics at this point, he’s heard a lot of anecdotal data about U.S.-based hosting and other web service companies losing business to overseas competitors since the #Snowden leaks.

    “We have a great fear that we are going to see a big exodus for US-based businesses over the information that’s been leaked,in part because there’s this tremendous lack of transparency, and lack of transparency is the absolute worst thing for these situations,” he says. “We’re competing on a global scale, and if people don’t have a reason to trust the host they’re using, they can go elsewhere in just a couple of clicks.”

    "According to Dawson, fear of the Patriot Act had already been dogging U.S. hosting companies for years, and the #Snowden leaks just added fuel to the fire. In a global market as fluid as something like web hosting, a lot of consumers would just as soon prefer to take their business elsewhere."


    # Microsoft Helped The NSA Bypass Its Own Encryption Software, Spy On Its Clients
    2013.07.11

    A few days ago, when we reported that NSA code had been inserted in Google's Android open-sourced OS (much to the fury of open-source code advocates everywhere), we noted that it has been public information that over a decade ago, Microsoft had inadvertently left clear signs that it was providing backdoor access to its legacy Microsoft operating systems. It turns out that this was merely the beginning.

    According to another just released report by the Guardian citing Snowden files, "Microsoft has collaborated closely with US intelligence services to allow users' communications to be intercepted, including helping the National Security Agency to circumvent the company's own encryption, according to top-secret documents obtained by the Guardian."

    From the Guardian:

    The files provided by Edward Snowden illustrate the scale of co-operation between Silicon Valley and the intelligence agencies over the last three years. They also shed new light on the workings of the top-secret #PRISM program, which was disclosed by the Guardian and the Washington Post last month.

    None of this is any surprise: that America's electronic communication sector is in bed with Uncle Bush and Uncle Obama was made abundantly clear in ""You Should Use Both" - How America's Internet Companies Are Handing Over Your Data To Uncle Sam." Still, prima facie proof that corporations systematically betray the privacy of their clients in order to curry favor with the government should be troubling if only to those who are not in the same state of completely symbiotic relationship with the government and whose sustinence depends on preserving Big Government at all costs, which as we will shows in a post shortly is just over 110 million Americans.

    More from the Guardian explaining how anyone using Microsoft products should be aware that the NSA logs every single keystroke:

    The latest documents come from the NSA's Special Source Operations (SSO) division, described by Snowden as the "crown jewel" of the agency. It is responsible for all programs aimed at US communications systems through corporate partnerships such as #PRISM.

    Microsoft's co-operation was not limited to Outlook.com. An entry dated 8 April 2013 describes how the company worked "for many months" with the FBI – which acts as the liaison between the intelligence agencies and Silicon Valley on Prism – to allow #PRISM access without separate authorization to its cloud storage service SkyDrive.

    A separate entry identified another area for collaboration. "The FBI Data Intercept Technology Unit (DITU) team is working with Microsoft to understand an additional feature in Outlook.com which allows users to create email aliases, which may affect our tasking processes."


    The NSA has devoted substantial efforts in the last two years to work with Microsoft to ensure increased access to Skype, which has an estimated 663 million global users.


    Actually make that the NSA, as well as the FBI and CIA.

    The information the NSA collects from #PRISM is routinely shared with both the FBI and CIA. A 3 August 2012 newsletter describes how the NSA has recently expanded sharing with the other two agencies.

    The NSA, the entry reveals, has even automated the sharing of aspects of #PRISM using software that "enables our partners to see which selectors [search terms] the National Security Agency has tasked to #PRISM".

    The document continues: "The FBI and CIA then can request a copy of #PRISM collection of any selector…" As a result, the author notes: "these two activities underscore the point that #PRISM is a team sport!"


    ** What company will ever have an R&D budget again? Who will ever spend money developing a new product when we all know that the spooks have copies of all of our company secrets? Does anyone really believe they're not selling them?
    Now ask yourself: What happens to employment when product development stops?


    # Is Someone Listening?

    2013.07.11
    With the revelation that the federal government, through the National Security Agency, has been collecting phone and Internet records of U.S. citizens in the name of preventing terrorism, Americans are wondering whether private communication exists. In the infographics below, we explore how this surveillance works and the history of domestic spying programs (because, let’s face it, they’re not new)and how, even with broader knowledge of the government’s activities, a minority of Americans oppose such programs.


    [​IMG]
    Source: SecurityDegreeHub.com


    * Many Smart TVs from Samsung (and probably other brands) have cameras embedded in them. Read on "Samsung's latest TV sets' built-in cameras spark concerns | Mail Online"

    The new models, which are closer than ever to personal computers, offer high-tech features that have previously been unavailable, including a built-in HD camera, microphone set and face and speech recognition software.

    This software allows Samsung to recognise who is viewing the TV and personalises each person’s experience accordingly. The TV also listens and responds to specific voice commands.

    [​IMG]
    High-tech: Samsung's latest sets feature built-in HD cameras, microphone sets and face and speech recognition software


    What is to stop the govt from looking into your living room?

    Gary Merson, who runs website HD guru, said that because there is no way of disconnecting the camera and microphone, users cannot be 100 per cent sure that Samsung is not collecting data and passing it on to third parties.


    * The breaking point for the human species will be its collective apparatus built to predict every thought of yours before it occurs. All in the name of science, right?


    # Experts: Obama’s plan to predict future leakers unproven, unlikely to work | McClatchy

    2013.07.09

    WASHINGTON — In an initiative aimed at rooting out future leakers and other security violators, President Barack Obama has ordered federal employees to report suspicious actions of their colleagues based on behavioral profiling techniques that are not scientifically proven to work, according to experts and government documents.

    The techniques are a key pillar of the Insider Threat Program, an unprecedented government-wide crackdown under which millions of federal bureaucrats and contractors must watch out for “high-risk persons or behaviors” among co-workers. Those who fail to report them could face penalties, including criminal charges.

    Obama mandated the program in an October 2011 executive order after Army Pfc. Bradley Manning downloaded hundreds of thousands of documents from a classified computer network and gave them to WikiLeaks, the anti-government secrecy group."

    They're becoming just a shade unhinged to the paranoid side...lol...but who will really watch the watchers ;-)


    [​IMG]
    Recalling this one, a remnant from the Berlin walls? STASI 2.0


    # So let's delve a little deeper into Orwell's thought via the so-called "book within the book", wherein he lays out the "controlled insanity" by which The Party exercises absolute dominion over everyone, quite literally in thought, word, and deed.

    I remember reading "1984" in high school and college and thinking man, that would would be horrendous. THIS IS IT. Orwell couldn't have written this story better - and this is real life, we are living it!!!

    The genius of Orwell (his real name: Eric Arthur Blair, lived from 25 June 1903 to 21 January 1950, known by his pen name George Orwell) was that he pretty much had it figured out long before the presence of television set..

    But so did the USA's Founding Fathers long before Orwell and then the Chinese famous strategist, Sun Tzu, long before all of them.

    So what does that tell you.... human nature does not change. The behaviour of dictators & tyrants is the same since the beginning of time to Julius Caesar to Joseph Stalin to present days. The behaviour of the unknowing masses is also well documented.

    See also George Orwell - Complete works, Biography, Quotes, Essays


    # "Security-Enhanced": the 21st Century Orwellian Double-Speak for "Enhanced Spyware" which is used on the unknowing masses. There is definitely some more wicked **** hardwired and outside the OS that we don't know about.... and here comes into play the various powerful smartphones from those big names with all kinds of tracking capabilities incl. the facial recognition, various location services and many other "knowing you" features...


    # "You can have all the source code in the world. But if a blob is being compiled in and you don't know what's in there instruction by instruction, control is out of your hands.And I bet there's a shitload of blobs in Android."

    For the rest of users, there's always a FOTA to deliver the extra loads :) FOTA: Firmware Over-the-Air, used for upgrades to mobile phones and tablet computers. Big names such as LG, Samsung, HTC, Nokia, Motorola, Sony produce FOTA capable phones.


    # Wipe the ROM and roll your own: "Welcome to the tabletroms.com development community" ~ Some good stuff in there. Couple wickedly extend battery life. More coverage on Android's vulnerability: http://threatpost.com/


    # "SELinux, SE Android has got nothing to do with snooping and exposing one's privacy. #NSA developed SELinux initially in conjunction with open-source community and is now only in an advisory role to companies like www.tresys.com & Red Hat that develop policies on a full time basis. SELinux, as I know it in its current form, is only used for securing individual systems from vulnerabilities post penetration attack." </sarc>


    # You know it's the endgame on Prison Planet when every one is admitting..."Yeah...We're Bugging You....SO WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL" ? I've said it once...I'll say it again...."The Matrix was a documentary".

    ALL of your data is being collected, cataloged and permanently stored by numerous agencies.
    ALL OF YOUR DATA - from your smart electric and smart electronic uses, your phone, your purchases, banking records, medical records, school records, transportation (GPS tracking), tax info, property info ... etc. The keyword here is the attributive "smart". Just about everything you do, in particular those done with your smart devices. BIG BROTHER is just closely watching you.


    [​IMG]


    # Btw Eric Schmidt has been a regular attendee of the BILDERBERG annual conference for the last 7 years.



    # “If you're doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide"

    The Eternal Value of Privacy

    Bruce Schneier - 2006.05.18

    The most common retort against privacy advocates -- by those in favor of ID checks, cameras, databases, data mining and other wholesale surveillance measures -- is this line:"If you aren't doing anything wrong, what do you have to hide?"

    Some clever answers: "If I'm not doing anything wrong, then you have no cause to watch me." "Because the government gets to define what's wrong, and they keep changing the definition." "Because you might do something wrong with my information." My problem with quips like these -- as right as they are -- is that they accept the premise that privacy is about hiding a wrong. It's not. Privacy is an inherent human right, and a requirement for maintaining the human condition with dignity and respect.

    Two proverbs say it best: Quis custodiet custodes ipsos? ("Who watches the watchers?") and "Absolute power corrupts absolutely."

    "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." – John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton


    # About Eliot Spitzer, governor of New York in 2008

    It was only a matter of time before the Patriot Act was used for other than its intended purpose.

    For instance, on Feb. 14, 2008, Eliot Spitzer, governor of New York, wrote a flaming editorial in Washington Post about predatory lending.

    The piece is very critical of the Bush administration and it's defense of banks making deceptive loans without regard to ability to pay.

    One month later, Spitzer resigned on March 17, 2008 after an embarrassing payment to an escort service was dug up via the Patriot Act. Very dreadful.


    # NSA spied on Latin America for energy and military intel — RT News (2013-07-10)

    The #NSA's spy program encompasses most countries in Latin America, new cables released by Edward #Snowden have confirmed. The data gathered on military affairs and “commercial secrets” has provoked a flurry of furious rhetoric from regional leaders.


    # Snowden confirms NSA created Stuxnet with Israeli aid — RT News (2013-07-09)

    The Stuxnet virus that decimated Iranian nuclear facilities was created by the #NSA and co-written by Israel, Edward #Snowden has confirmed.


    # Hitting the reset: NSA spying targeted BRICS — RT News (2013-07-08)

    Members of BRICS featured high on the list of countries singled out for special consideration by the National Security Agency’s intensive #PRISM program, which collected data on billions of telephone and internet records globally.

    An article published at the weekend in Brazil’s O Globo newspaper makes the observation that "Brazil…appears to stand out on maps of the U.S. agency as a priority target for telephony and data traffic, alongside nations such as China, Russia..."

    Brazil, Russia and China are three prominent members of the international association, which goes by the acronym BRICS, which also includes India and South Africa.

    "The #NSA interception of the Russian leader’s G20 communications came just hours after President Obama and Medvedev met for the first time [2009], and in the midst of the much-hyped ‘reset’ between the former Cold War foes. During their meeting, the two discussed a wide range of thorny issues, including the global financial crisis, nuclear disarmament and Washington’s controversial decision to build a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe."


    "Last month, #Snowden boarded a plane from the United States to Hong Kong with a mountain of sensitive US documents, which he released once safely inside the China-owned territory. On June 23, the American whistleblower boarded a plane for Moscow, where he has been holed up in Sheremetyevo Airport’s transit zone ever since."


    # New Snowden leak: Australia’s place in US spying web — RT News (2013-07-08)

    Ex-#NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward #Snowden has disclosed his first set of documents outlining Australia’s role in #NSA surveillance programs, picking out four facilities in the country that contribute heavily to US spying.

    The locations of dozens of the US’s and associated countries signal collection sites have been revealed by #Snowden who leaked classified National Security Agency maps to US journalist Glenn Greenwald, which were then published in the Brazilian newspaper “O Globo.”

    The sites all play a role in the collection of data and interception of internet traffic and telecommunications on a global level.

    Australian centers involved in the
    #NSA's data collection program, codenamed X-Keyscore, include Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap in central Australia and three Australian Signals Directorate facilities: the Shoal Bay Receiving Station in the country’s north, the Australian Defence Satellite Communications Facility on the west coast, and the naval communications station HMAS Harman outside the capital, Canberra.

    New Zealand also plays a role, with the Government Security Communications Bureau facility at Waihopai, on the northern point of South Island, also contributing to the program.

    X-Keyscore is described as a “national Intelligence collection mission system” by US intelligence expert William Arkin, according to Australian newspaper The Age. It processes all signals prior to being delivered to various “production lines” that deal with more specific issues including the exploration of different types of data for close scrutiny.

    The different subdivisions are entitled
    Nucleon (voice), Pinwale (video), Mainway (call records) and Marina (internet records).

    [​IMG]
    Warning sign on the road to Pine Gap

    A spokesman for Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd declined to comment on the revelatory map, saying that it was not government practice to comment on intelligence matters, according to national broadsheet The Australian.

    Australia is one of the “Five Eyes” – an alliance of intelligence-sharing countries which include of the US, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

    When documents were published pertaining to the British signal intelligence agency, GCHQ’s “
    #Tempora” program, #Snowden reportedly commented that the other partners in the “Five Eyes” intelligence “sometimes go even further than the [National Security Agency] people themselves.”

    “If you send a data packet and if it makes its way through the UK, we will get it. If you download anything, and the server is in the UK, then we get it,” he said.

    In an interview published online last weekend in advance of its printing in German magazine ‘Der Spiegel’ this week,
    #Snowden argued that the #NSA was ‘in bed with the Germans’ commenting that the organization of intelligence gathering in countries involved with the organization is such that political leaders are insulated from the backlash, going on to denounce “how grievously they're violating global privacy.”

    Germany reacted to the report on Monday, with German chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, telling Reuters that the Federal Intelligence Agency’s (BND) cooperation with the
    #NSA “took place within strict legal and judicial guidelines and is controlled by the competent parliamentary committee.”

    The US and its affiliates have intelligence facilities distributed worldwide in a variety of US embassies, consulates and military facilities. In an earlier report by Der Spiegel, also based on revelations by
    #Snowden, it was revealed that the #NSA bugged EU diplomatic offices and gained access to EU internal computer networks.



    # International confidence in US economy ‘crumbling’ after Snowden leaks (2013-06-25)

    Along with exposing widespread international surveillance, Edward Snowden has revealed how exactly the US is financing its military ambitions, according to Max Keiser.

    RT: Surely not even you can make any kind of link between the Snowden saga and the US economy?

    Max Keiser: The American economy runs on the confidence, confidence that the world accepts the US dollar as world reserve currency, confidence that the US bond market will remain the standard. And what we are seeing is a sell-off in a bond market and a sell-off in the stock market, because confidence in the US and its ability to maintain a global empire through interest rates and the Central Bank policy is crumbling before the world’s very eyes.

    What’s interesting is that Edward #Snowden worked for Booz Allen. Booz Allen allegedly along with a few other companies are the masterminds behind LIBOR market rigging, energy market rigging, FOREX market rigging. And this is really the fuel that keeps the American military empire going, because the American economy itself cannot support its military ambitions so they’ve resorted to market manipulation and the kind of intelligence that Edward #Snowden is able to aggregate is key to manipulating markets in ways that make Booz Allen, allegedly, the channel for billions and billions of dollars into America’s military campaigns.

    And this is really about money, markets and manipulations. It’s not about security. It’s not to do with anything that the White House says...

    RT: Can you also give us an idea of how some of those big companies like Google, or Facebook could actually benefit from this surveillance program #PRISM? Is there a financial gain from them?

    MK: Absolutely, because all of the manipulation involves rigging the indexes. And the indexes are all data-sensitive. So, if you can manipulate the data, you can manipulate the indexes and you manipulate the markets. And if you have advanced knowledge of that inside information you can make billions of dollars of front-running, high-frequency trading (HFT), algorithmic trading. And, of course, all the banks on the Wall Street are in on this and all the banks in the UK.

    It’s very telling that the foreign minister of Ecuador said that, look “you are talking about us extraditing Edward
    #Snowden what about bringing back those bankers we asked you to bring back to Ecuador who we caught rigging and terrorizing our market?” What about the Icelandic bankers that have been asked by the government of Iceland to be extradited back to Iceland that are being held in the UK? What about these other instances where banking terrorists are being sheltered in the US and the UK? They’re not responding to extradition agreements. So this’s all about financial legerdemain, unfortunately, Americans don’t have enough money to fight their wars anymore so they have to resort to snooping, data-gathering, and market manipulation.



    # Netflix, Facebook — and the NSA: They’re all in it together - Salon.com
    2013.06.14

    #NSA, Netflix, Facebook and other e-commerce goliaths are collaborating on tools that track us in very intimate ways

    On June 9, the Wall Street Journal reported that for the last few years the National Security Agency has been relying on a software program “with the quirky name Hadoop” to help it make sense of its enormous collections of data. Named after a toy elephant that belonged to the child of one of the original developers of the program, “Hadoop,” reported the Journal, is a crucial part of “a computing and software revolution … a piece of free software that lets users distribute big-data projects across hundreds or thousands of computers.”

    “Revolution” is probably the most overused word in the chronicle of Internet history, but if anything, the Wall Street Journal undersold the real story. Hadoop’s importance to how we live our lives today is hard to overstate. By making it economically feasible to extract meaning from the massive streams of data that increasingly define our online existence, Hadoop effectively enabled the surveillance state.

    And not just in the narrowest, Big Brother, government-is-watching-everyone-all-the-time sense of that term. Hadoop is equally critical to private sector corporate surveillance. Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Amazon, Netflix — just about every big player that gathers the trillions of data “events” generated by our everyday online actions employs Hadoop as a part of their arsenal of Big Data-crunching tools. Hadoop is everywhere — as one programmer told me, “it’s taken over the world.”

    The Journal’s description of Hadoop as “a piece of free software” barely scratches the surface of the significance of this particular batch of code. In the past half-decade Hadoop has emerged as one of the triumphs of the non-proprietary, open-source software programming methodology that previously gave us the Apache Web server, the Linux operating system and the Firefox browser. Hadoop belongs to nobody. Anyone can copy it, modify, extend it as they please. Funny, that: A software program developed collaboratively by programmers who believe that their code should be shared in as open and transparent a process as possible has resulted in the creation of tools that everyone from the #NSA to Facebook uses to annihilate any semblance of individual privacy. But what’s even more ironic, and fascinating, is the sight of intelligence agencies like the#NSA and CIA joining in and becoming integral players in the world of open source big data software. The #NSA doesn’t just use Hadoop. #NSA programmers have improved and extended Hadoop and donated their changes and additions back to the larger community. The CIA actively invests in start-ups that are commercializing Hadoop and other open source projects.

    [HR][/HR][HR][/HR]They’re all in it together. The spooks and the social media titans and the online commerce goliaths are collaborating to improve data-crunching software tools that enable the tracking of our behavior in fantastically intimate ways that simply weren’t possible as recently as four or five years ago. It’s a new military industrial open source Big Data complex. The gift economy has delivered us the surveillance state.
    [​IMG]
    Hadoop’s earliest roots go back to 2002, when Doug Cutting, then the search director at the Internet Archive, and Michael Cafarella, a graduate student at the University of Washington, started working on an open-source search engine called “Nutch.” But the project did not get serious traction until Cutting joined Yahoo and began to merge his work into Yahoo’s larger strategic goal of improving its search engine technology so as to better compete with Google. Significantly, Yahoo executives decided not to make the project proprietary. In 2006, they blessed the formation of Hadoop, an open-source project managed under the auspices of the Apache Software Foundation. (For a much more detailed look at the history of Hadoop, please read this four-part history of Hadoop at GigaOm.)

    Hadoop is basically a nifty hack. The definition, per Wikipedia, is surprisingly simple: “It supports the running of applications on large clusters of commodity hardware.” Bottom line, Hadoop provides a means for distributing both the storage and processing of an enormous amount of data over lots and lots of relatively inexpensive computers. Hadoop turned out to be cheap, fast and scalable — meaning it could expand smoothly in capacity as the flows of data it was crunching burgeoned in size, simply though plugging in extra computers to the network. Hadoop was also fundamentally modular — different parts of it could be easily replaced by custom designed chunks of software, making it seamlessly adaptable to the individual circumstances of different corporations — or government agencies.

    Hadoop’s debut was timely, addressing not only the problems Yahoo faced in managing the enormous amounts of data produced by its users, but also those that the entire Internet industry was simultaneously struggling to cope with. Basically, the Internet had become a victim of its own success. The enormous flows of data generated by users of the likes of Facebook and Twitter far overwhelmed the ability of those companies to make sense of it. There was too much coming in too fast. Hadoop helped companies cope with the tsunami — it was, in the words of Jeff Hammerbacher, an early employee of Facebook, “our tool for exploiting the unreasonable effectiveness of data.”

    Before Hadoop, you were at the mercy of your data. After Hadoop, you were in charge. You could figure out all kinds of interesting things. You could recognize patterns in the data and start to make inferences about what might happen if you made tweaks to your product. What did users do when the interface was adjusted like this? What kinds of ads made them more likely to pull out their credit cards? What did that batch of millions of Verizon calls reveal about the formation of a potential terrorist cell? Facebook wouldn’t be able to exploit the insights of its so-called social graph without tools like Hadoop.

    “Hadoop has become the de facto standard tool for cost-effectively processing Big Data,” says Raymie Stata, who served as chief technology officer at Yahoo before eventually starting his own Hadoop-focused start-up, Altiscale. And the significance of being able to cheaply process Big Data, to accurately “measure” what your users are doing, he added, is a “big deal.”

    “Once you can measure what’s happening ‘out there’ — [you can] then use those measurements to understand and ultimately influence what’s happening out there.”
    With engineers at multiple companies recognizing that Hadoop offered solutions to the specific challenges they faced on a daily basis, Hadoop quickly secured the critical mass of cross-industry support necessary for an open-source software program to become an essential part of Internet infrastructure. Even engineers at Google chipped in, although Hadoop, at its core, was basically an attempt to reverse-engineer proprietary Google technology. But that’s just how the Internet has historically worked.

    For decades, so-called gift economy collaboration, in which the community as a whole benefits from the freely donated contributions of its members, has been a potent driver of Internet software evolution. As I wrote 16 years ago, when chronicling the birth of the Apache Web server, the success of open source software “testifies to the enduring vigor of the Internet’s cooperative, distributed approach to solving problems.” Hadoop, which down to its fundamental structural essence is a distributed approach to solving problems, emblematized this philosophy at its core.

    So, in a sense, Hadoop’s success was just the same old story. But back in the mid-’90s, around the time that one of the first open source success stories, the Apache Web server, was taking off, I’m not sure that anyone would have predicted that the National Security Agency and CIA would end up becoming stalwart participants in the gift economy. Even though it makes total sense, in principle, that the fruits of government-funded software development should be shared with the general public, there’s still something cognitively disjunctive about intelligence agencies that shroud their every activity in great secrecy contributing to projects built on openness and transparency. On the one hand, employees of the #NSA are appearing at conferences discussing how they have adapted Hadoop to solve the problems of dealing with unimaginably huge data sets, but on the other hand, we’re not supposed to know anything about what they are actually doing with that data.

    The intertwining of the intelligence agencies with the larger open source software community could hardly be more incestuous. In 2008, a group of Yahoo employees that eventually included Doug Cutting formed a start-up designed to commercialize Hadoop called Cloudera. The CIA, through its In-Q-Tel (named after James Bond’s Q character) venture capital arm, was an early investor in, and customer of, Cloudera. The #NSA built a significant piece of software that works “on top” of Hadoop calledAccumulo designed to add sophisticated security controls managing how data could be accessed, and then promptly donated that code to the Apache Software Foundation. Later, a group of #NSA software engineers formed another spinoff company, Sqrrl, to commercialize Accumulo.

    What all this means is that the improvements to tools that the #NSA is making, with the aim of more efficiently catching terrorists, are propagating into the private sector where they will be used by Facebook and Neftlix and Yahoo to more accurately target ads or influence our purchasing behavior or provide us with content algorithmically shaped to our very specific desires. And vice versa. Innovations and increased capabilities pioneered by private companies trickle back to the #NSA The collective boot-strapping never stops.

    Again, in principle, there is nothing necessarily wrong going on here. There is no one to blame. Some of the fiercer apologists for unfettered free markets might complain that government involvement in open source projects unfairly competes with private sector proprietary businesses, but a much stronger case can be made that any software development work that is funded by taxpayer money should by definition be considered freely sharable with the wider public. The #NSA should probably be applauded for helping to improve Hadoop. And if the capabilities unlocked by Hadoop result in the prevention of some horrific terrorist act, then every programmer who contributed a line of code to the project justly deserves some congratulation.

    But there’s also an intriguing inversion occurring here of what, for better or worse, we might call the purpose of the Internet. The Internet was initially created by the U.S. government to facilitate the sharing of information between geographically separate research centers. The Internet took off in the mid-’90s in large part because the general public recognized it as a phenomenal tool for sharing information with each other. The fact that so much of the Internet’s infrastructure was also built from code that was freely shared seemed like a pleasing match of form and function.

    Free software and open-source software evolution is frequently driven not so much by hope for financial gain but by individuals looking to solve their immediate engineering problems. Over time, on the Internet at large, one of those problems has turned out to be the gnarly challenge of how to manage all the data created by all those people sharing so promiscuously with each other. Hadoop can justly be seen as the natural response to all that promiscuous sharing. And it certainly helped solve the problems faced by engineers at Facebook and elsewhere.

    But what ended up getting enabled by the success of Hadoop is something significantly different than good old peer-to-peer sharing. The ability to make sense out of petabytes of data isn’t necessarily useful to you or me. But it’s god’s gift to the profit-minded corporations and terrorist-seeking intelligence agencies seeking to leverage the data we generate for their own purposes, to measure our behavior and ultimately to influence it. That could mean Netflix figuring out exactly what combination of plot twists and acting talent proves irresistible to streaming video watchers or Facebook figuring out exactly how to stock our newsfeeds with advertisements that generate acceptable click-through or Twitter knowing exactly where we are on the surface of the planet so it can pop up a sponsored tweet pushing a coupon for a happy hour at the bar just down the street — or the #NSA spotting a peculiar pattern of pressure cooker purchases. This is no longer about sharing information with each other; it’s about manipulation, control and punishment. It’s about keeping stock prices up.

    We’re a long, long way here from the ideal gift economy, where everyone brings their home-cooked delicacy to the potlatch. We’ve arrived at a destination where the tools offer more power to them than to us.

    I posed a version of this analysis to Michael Cafarella, one of the original authors of Hadoop, now a computer scientist at the University of Michigan. He conceded that “there’s a certain irony that the open ideas of open source have enabled the construction of systems that can undermine openness so substantially.”

    But Raymie Stata, who has been closely involved with the growth of Hadoop for the last seven years, warned against “conflating ‘open source software’ with ‘Open Society.’”

    “Everyone involved with Hadoop in the early days certainly did believe that Hadoop, as a piece of open source software, would make the world a better place. I can’t say, back then, that we saw Hadoop moving from cyberspace to the real world, but we did recognize that it would become foundational to building Internet applications of the future, and we wanted to contribute to advancing that agenda.

    “But individuals who find common ground in contributing to open source projects do not, as a whole, share beliefs on what constitutes the ideal ‘Open Society,’” said Stata. “Is using Big Data to make inferences about people a Bad Thing at all, no matter who does it? Or is it no big deal? Or does it depend on who’s doing it, and for what reason (and with what transparency)? Should we be more worried about Big Business, or Big Government?”

    “I guess in some ways this incident is evidence that it’s hard to encode ideals in a piece of software,” said Cafarella. “The right way to do that is via legislation.”

    Cafarella’s point is hard to dispute. Brian Behlendorf, one of the founders of the Apache Software Foundation, told me that at one juncture, contributors to the various software projects managed by Apache had argued over whether the license that determined the rules for how their code could be shared should include restrictions against organizations using that code for purposes deemed morally or ethically unacceptable by the open source software programmer community. But it was relatively quickly determined that to attempt such restrictions would open up an impossible to resolve subjective can of worms. Society at large has to figure out what limits it wants to put on the surveillance state, on what either Facebook or the #NSA is allowed to do.

    It’s also important to acknowledge that as users of online services, we benefit in many ways from our instant-gratification, access-to-everything, always on lives. But still: When we first started to log on, did we realize what the tradeoffs would be? Did we know that we were entering the Panopticon? That we would be making it substantially easier than ever before for governments and businesses to track our behavior and monitor our every whim?

    Behlendorf says we kind of did. He recalls his days, fresh out of college in 1995, working for HotWired, Wired magazine’s first foray into online publishing. AT&T was running an ad on HotWired, under the theme “Imagine the Future,” that pictured an arm with a “wrist-watch phone” on it.

    “Someone printed it out,” said Behlendorf, “put it up on the wall, and wrote in black marker over the top of the ad, ‘NSA primate tracking device.’”

    And guess what? We went ahead and built it.
    [​IMG]




    # Is PRISM Damaging Cloud Computing?

    #PRISM and Providers

    In June and July, former analyst – and now tourist-on-the-run whistle blower – Edward #Snowden leaked a set of slides and shared knowledge of the #NSA's spying program with the Guardian. The leaked slide deck in question stated that the #NSA had direct access to the servers owned by the following companies: Microsoft; Yahoo; Google; Facebook; PalTalk; YouTube; Skype; AOL; Apple.


    [​IMG]

    When asked by the media, companies such as Microsoft and Google refuted claims that they provide the #NSA with direct access to their servers. You’ll notice in the original slide (shown above) that it refers to when data “collection” started, not when they obtained access. That is a subtle difference.


    [​IMG]
    The NSA's new $1.7bn facility in the heart of Mormon country: Utah Data Center in Bluffdale

    [​IMG]
    Sited on an unused swath of the national guard base, the Utah Data Center, which is
    the largest facility, spans 1 million sq ft and use 65 megawatts of power.


    [​IMG]
    NSA's largest facility, Utah Data Center

    Prior to this scandal we were wondering why the #NSA was building adata center in Utah that will be capable of storing 5 zetabytes of data. That is over 5 billion terabytes of information! Every time you tweet, every time you Skype, every embarrassing Facebook photo post – it’s all captured and stored for trend analysis and historic reference by the #NSA.

    Disclosing Data Without Your Consent

    What does this mean to cloud computing? The emergence of the public cloud created a lot of hype from marketing people, and exciting opportunities for IT architects and solutions designers. Amidst all the noise, a few quietly voiced their concerns. Previous legislation by the U.S. government and programs by US security services have caused great discussion about the suitability of U.S.-owned services. The Patriot Act gives security services almost unfettered on-demand (rather than a regular copy) access to data stored in US-owned data centers, no matter where those data centers are located.


    #
    Motorola secretly spies on Droid phone users every 9 minutes, collects personal data | Computerworld Blogs (2013-07-03)

    You know the NSA is “listening,” nabbing Verizon customers’ cell phone metadata, but did you know that Motorola is listening too? A security engineer with a Motorola Droid X2 smartphone discovered that Motorola is silently slurping up personal info like passwords, GPS data from photos, email addresses, and usernames to name but a few. His phone is checking in with Motorola every nine minutes. Even worse, the data is often sent over an unencrypted HTTP channel. As a Slashdot comment stated, “The NSA would like to thank Motorola for their cooperation.”

    This all started when Ben Lincoln wrote about this new disturbing discovery on Beneath the Waves:

    In June of 2013, I made an interesting discovery about the Android phone (a Motorola Droid X2) which I was using at the time: it was silently sending a considerable amount of sensitive information to Motorola, and to compound the problem, a great deal of it was over an unencrypted HTTP channel.


    # Set of slides and shared knowledge at the net resource - anon

    # Alternative search engines: DuckDuckGo - Ixquick / Startpage


    Tweets? Twitter? #PRISM#Snowden#NSA #surveillance#Tempora




    ------------------
    "You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes."

    "The Roman Empire was very, very much like us. They lost their moral core, their sense of values in terms of who they were. And after all of those things converged together, they just went right down the tubes very quickly." - Benjamin Carson

    "A few agents of the Thought Police moved always among them, spreading false rumours and marking down and eliminating the few individuals who were judged capable of becoming dangerous..." - George Orwell, English Novelist and Essayist, 1903-1950

     
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