Sunday 8 September 2013

Looks like I was right about front doors built into Skype for the NSA

Looks like I was right about front doors built into Skype for the NSA

By Dark Politricks

Whether you decide to follow every single one of my tips for staying secure on the Internet in my guide "Internet Censorship and surfing anonymously", it seems we are basically screwed if we expect to stay under any sort of national security radar anymore. 

If anyone thought that a global Stasi government couldn't exist in this day and age recent revelations have shown that to be a foolish notion indeed.

I can only think that living in a wood shack, deep in the forest, without any sort of telecommunications and speaking to your friends mouth to ear is the only way not to get caught in the huge fishing expedition being carried out by the US/UK axis of spying at the moment.

They are not doing anything illegal though. No of course not, it's all in our best interests that they hover up every single bit of data that is produced. It's to stop that nasty rag-tag bag of 12th century cave dwelling terrorists that they need all this high-tech snooping equipment. That and to stop the Chinese stealing "OUR" business and government secrets.

Yes they have perfectly legitimate reasons to be implementing all these back and front doors into the most widely used web applications in the world. 

It's only to stop al-Qaeda terrorists swapping bombing targets by paper that they are breaking the most sophisticated encryption methods ever known with super computers the size of cities under Utah.

Never would I expect our honest upstanding governments to mis-use or hand over any "interesting" data gathered "by accident" to law enforcement agencies or "favoured" government companies. No we should never believe our governments would scoop that low, except that they do it all the time and it's been proven over and over again.

Not only are legal cases being "back fitted" to hide the original source of the incriminating evidence that started the ball rolling in the first place, i.e hacked or captured data. But this is data that is totally taken illegally under the US constitution. One which reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed is supposed to exist first before a warrant to take such data can be issued. Of course the constitution and any form of human rights is an antiquated concept in this modern world.

So please don't tell me that you have "nothing to hide" and "nothing to worry about", that's bullshit. Everybody has secrets. No-body lives perfect lives, not even Jesus claimed that.

If you want nerds at GCHQ playing in their pants over photos your wife had sent to you under the expectation that no-one ele would be able to see them then you're a better man than most.

Yes most people probably don't care about the daily mundane lives of many but we all know how offices work and I doubt the NSA or GCHQ workforce is any different from most.

I can just see the NSA office when someone comes across a funny picture or two from an "accidental" data haul. Like most offices who laugh at funny crap it's probably shared amongst the workers with much glee just like the youtube video or funny email is at your own office. The only difference is that these videos and emails or texts are from real people and not "made for the internet" fun.

So, when I wrote some months back about why would Microsoft spend £5.2bn / $8.5bn buying out Skype, the VOIP service that allows people to talk to each other across the world for free. I wondered whether it was just a conspiracy theory to suggest that the well-known NSA front company Microsoft was only buying Skype so that they could use it to easily record and store people's phone and video calls. As I said at the time:
"Why bother going to all the hassle in creating back doors, asking companies for encryption keys and ISP's to keep log files for years when instead they can just use their massive front companies Google and Microsoft to just buy up the technology and install front doors instead."
"Why go through all the pain of trying to pass new bills through Congress, getting extensions to the hated PATRIOT Act and all that malarkey when you can just hook your new cool spyware / application  into your existing network of super computers that spend all day sifting through the trillions of bytes worth of data looking for patterns of behaviour or conversations of interest to investigate further." >> NSA front company hooks SKYPE into Big Brother computer network.
Now with all the revelations from Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden we know the reason why Microsoft bought Skype.

For the past decade at least the NSA and their partner GCHQ have been busy building backdoors into the encryption systems that keep the Internet safe for people to bank, shop and talk over.

With recent revelations that even the most secure encryption systems have been broken and that the big four computer companies, that include Microsoft, have been working close in hand with the government, it is perfectly clear why an NSA front company like Microsoft would buy Skype.

I was basically right all along and those silly people who criticised me on Reddit and the other sites who like to link to my articles must feel stupid now when even Microsoft comes out and admits it.
Recent articles on the Guardian show that:
• Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new portal;
• The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on, including Hotmail;
• The company worked with the FBI this year to allow the NSA easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide;
• Microsoft also worked with the FBI’s Data Intercept Unit to “understand” potential issues with a feature in that allows users to create email aliases;
• Skype, which was bought by Microsoft in October 2011, worked with intelligence agencies last year to allow Prism to collect video of conversations as well as audio;
• Material collected through Prism is routinely shared with the FBI and CIA, with one NSA document describing the program as a “team sport”
“When we upgrade or update products we aren’t absolved from the need to comply with existing or future lawful demands,” Microsoft said in a statement.

So there we have it. My "conspiracy theory", that I just wanted to throw out onto the web at 5am to see if it caught on was basically right all along. I just wonder how many other gadgets and phones you have on you right now are just basic surveillance devices for the authorities to use at will?

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