Snoop the ‘Plumbing’

December 30, 2013

Mohr-NSAClear and chilly this coming-too-fast Monday morning here on California’s north coast as we trot out the final few hours of 2013 — another holiday work-week, the last of the year, and on Wednesday we all go out with a whimpering snap.

Public secrets seem to be the underlying theme for this dying year, and seemingly crime free.

(Illustration found here).

And the surveillance/snooping NSA bullshit has also gone a bit far — how about hacking your car?
It’s been done already. Via Raw Story:

“I write to request information regarding your company’s protections against the threat of cyberattacks or unwarranted invasions of privacy related to the integration of wireless, navigation and other technologies into and with automobiles,” wrote Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass, in a letter to Daniel Akerson, CEO of General Motors, earlier in December.
Markey sent similar letters to 19 other major car manufacturers, asking about the defenses car electronics contain against these intrusions.
Meanwhile, a team of hackers from DARPA put a car through their tender ministrations, showing just what is possible to do to a car with modern electronics, like honking its horn, cinching and uncinching the driver’s seat belt … and turning the wheel.

Dangerous shit, there.
Meanwhile, too, the crime-less pro hackers at the NSA produced a comment on yesterday’s story on an out-of-control segment of the agency — slicing into computers everywhere. Germany’s Der Spiegel produced the story and I posted about it yesterday morning. Seems the NSA’s so-called Tailored Access Operations (TAO) is “essential” to keeping the homeland safe.
From the Guardian:

NSA officials responded to the Spiegel report with a statement, which said:
“Tailored Access Operations is a unique national asset that is on the front lines of enabling NSA to defend the nation and its allies. [TAO’s] work is centred on computer network exploitation in support of foreign intelligence collection.”

On Sunday, appearing on the CBS talk show Face the Nation, former air force general and NSA and CIA chief Michael Hayden called Snowden a traitor and accused him of treason.
He also accused Snowden of making the NSA’s operation “inherently weaker” by revealing not just the material that comes out of the agency but the “plumbing,’ showing how the system works inside the government.
On NBC’s Meet the Press Ben Wizner, a legal adviser to Snowden, said the contrasting opinions of the two federal judges were now likely to see the case end up in front of the supreme court.
“It’s time for the supreme court to weigh in and to see whether, as we believe, the NSA allowed its technological abilities to outpace democratic control,” Wizner said.

Asked if Snowden, who was granted one year’s asylum in Russia, should return to the US to face charges, Wizner said: “For now, he doesn’t believe and I don’t believe that the cost of his act of conscience should be a life behind bars.”
In a recent interview with the Washington Post, Snowden declared that he had “already won” and accomplished what he set out to do.
On Sunday, Wizner said Snowden’s mission was to bring the public, the courts and lawmakers into a conversation about the NSA’s work.
“He did his part,” Wizner said. “It’s now up to the public and our institutional oversight to decide how to respond.”

Hayden, of course, is one of the biggest assholes in DC — and there a lot of holes on that ass — and for him to say anything stupid is normal:

“This is the most serious hemorrhaging of American secrets in the history of American espionage,” Hayden said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“What Snowden is revealing … is the plumbing. He’s revealing how we acquire this information.”
“It will take years if not decades for us to return to the position that we had prior to his disclosure,” he added.

Michael, you fuckin’ fuck, it’s now too late. President Obama has promised a “firm statement” in January on all this NSA mess, but if he continues in the same attitude as the recent past, nothing will come to it. The cat’s out of the bag, however, the mule is out of the barn, etc. — maybe nothing will be done, but the US public does have a memory.

A wonderous pile of unbridled bullshit. The NSA is completely out of control, anybody’s control.
Jason Ditz at notes the horror:

Much of the NSA’s interest seems to be centered around financial rivals, nations like Mexico, Brazil and Germany, and its largest sites reflect those interests.
That doesn’t mean they’re not targeting anyone and everyone else, however.
Growth is never a problem for the NSA, or at least it wasn’t until it became public knowledge.
Since the dotcom bubble burst, the NSA has been scooping up math and comp sci majors en masse, and putting them in secret programs to collect ever more data from ever more targets.
With a secret budget and a classified employee list, getting the NSA under control looks to be a major task for Congress, particularly with several of the top leaders in both the House and Senate totally ambivalent about the issue.
Still, with the NSA’s actions now public knowledge, it will be hard for them to keep everything in the dark.

Noam Chomsky, in an interview at Salon, put American life in current perspective:

We’re developing technologies that will be used by our own governments and by commercial corporations and are already being used to maximize information for themselves for control and domination.
That’s the way power systems work.
Of course, they’ve always played the security card.
But I think one should be very cautious about such claims.
Every government pleads security for almost anything it’s doing, so since the plea is predictable it essentially carries no information.
If after the event the power system claims security, that doesn’t mean it’s actually a functioning principle.
And if you look at the record, you discover that security is generally a pretext and security is not a high priority of governments.
If by that I mean the security of the population — security of the power system itself and the domestic interests it represents, yes, that’s a concern.
But security of the population is not.

Maybe it’s because the house has bad plumbing?

(Illustration out front found here).

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