March 24, 2012

Calling All Skypers.

You might want to uninstall that Skype software toot sweet.

I don't use it myself. The quality over my broadband connection is shite. But if I was looking for another reason to distance myself from the state, here it bloody well is.

Worried yet?

Maybe you just scanned the piece and missed this:

"Lawful Interception means that government agencies can, without your permission, begin tracking your Skype conversations. Calls can be covertly recorded and used against you in any circumstance. It is legal, it is frightening and it is coming to a voice over IP application near you."


"If you are feeling powerless, join the club. You could uninstall Skype, because it remains one of the best, if not the best, VOIP application. After years of use, are we now expected to sit back and relax as our privacy is invaded? India is not as impartial as I am and have warned Skype that if it does not fix its laws relating to Legal Interception then Skype will risk being blocked in India; as this is a market of 1.2-billion potential users, Microsoft will have to work hard to please the Indian telecommunication committees and remain in its good graces.

Legal Interception is not only pervasive in Skype, but will soon be in your email accounts too. The Egyptian government, famous for breaking the privacy laws of its citizens, recently ended a five-month trial of the Legal Interception application in conjunction with Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo and various other webmail providers. The software then has the further option of planting its own version of a Trojan horse executable which can be passed on to any computer via social sharing, or portable drives. In yet another irritating blow, Legal Interception will also allow targeted ads based on our user preferences to invade our screens."

The internet is a double-edged sword. We all know that 98% of it is pure shite. It is mostly made up of scams, trolls, advertising, viruses and cats. But that other 2% is pure gold. It's those sites that you can use to research almost anything. It's YouTube. It's Netflix. It's Film4. It's those bloggers and tweeters that open a new window for you to look through. They give us a different aspect to mull over. New ideas to consider. Mostly, they give us the news in an unsanitised, unbiased way. If they do have a political point to make, they tell us up front. Not only do they allow us to make up our own minds, they allow us a voice. If we agree, or disagree, they provide the white space for us to post our own opinions and thoughts.

One factoid I am fond of telling people is this: it took the Americans just over 200 years to fill the Library of Congress with knowledge. Today, using the internet, we can amass the same amount of knowledge in 11 minutes. It is a fantastic tool. It liberated many of us in many different ways and it freed us from the staid opinions and slanted reporting of the dead tree press. It has, for instance, allowed me to be a home worker since 2003. No traffic, no road rage, no wasted commute, no pumping tons of carcinogens into the air for other suckers to breathe in.

But for every Yin there's a Yang. For every receive there's a transmit. Governments, be they conservative, labour, or communist, seek to trap our conversations, our emailings, and I suppose, our very thoughts as well. What may be (to you) an innocent chat with your pal down the road, at the other end of the country or indeed, on the other side of the world, when transcribed-context free-it can look like a very different thing. Then? Dawn fucking raids as they come to snatch you away, lock you up, and interrogate you until they are satisfied that you weren't plotting their downfall after all?

Mistakes will be made. Innocent men and women will be taken away for questioning. Lives will be ruined by scurrilous accusations. The lawyers will grow rich and fat defending or prosecuting these people for daring to have a spoken or written conversation. This is pre-crime in all but name. Mark my words.

And if they intend to log all those calls and emails from the private, what will they do with us bloggers in the public? Some of the stuff I have published or linked to here is far more explosive than two wannabe jihadi having a chat. They have the potential to bring down a building. Studied and practised correctly, this stuff has the potential to bring them all down. From the monarch to the lowly street bobby, and everyone in between. When the UK realises, finally, that they have absolutely no power of us whatsoever, the jig really is up.

In the meantime, the real bad guys, will surely (if they don't already) avoid Skype and email like genital warts. If I was plotting something bad, the very last thing I would do is trust Yahoo or Gmail with my intentions. But that doesn't matter to them, because they simply have to know everything.

I guess my days are numbered. We need to find a new way to communicate. This one is borked.

That mystical, mythical place, Off-Grid, is looking more and more attractive by the hour.

Who needs SkyNet when the very companies we trust with our communications are in league with the devil?

Fuck 'em. Fuck 'em all.


PS-Tip of the beret to my old mate JB for the find.


Anonymous said...

Hello Captain

This comes as no great surprise to anyone who remembers when M$ bought Skype in the first place.

There was the infamous story a few years ago about the NSA trying to backdoor Skype:
- NSA cracks Skype & other tall tales
- NSA offers billions for Skype pwnage

They couldn't do it (which should tell everyone something about the usefulness of encryption) so lo and behold that entirely-unrelated company, M$, bought it instead. Job done.

Skype is just a small piece of the puzzle though and there are alternatives to it already, and the GNU project is coming up with another although it's at a really early stage.

However, if you want to know how really pervasive things are going to get then you need to read these pieces at Activist Post and Wired.

Some of the 10 reasons in the Activist Post article are connected to Farcebook and other social networks which are easily avoided by not being on them, or at least not giving them "actual" information and being very careful how you access them. Also, on the one about employees being "asked" to handover passwords, FB is apparently saying it might possibly maybe perhaps take legal action "where appropriate" but does say handing them over is against its policy.

Or, at least, today's version of its policy.

I would also, respectfully :-), disagree with you on the value of Netflix. IPTV is the spawn of Satan.

The television and the internet are not enough though; you may also have noticed the increasing prevalence of low-powered processor technology in recent years. These are already being promoted as means for stupid people to switch off their dishwasher when they're at work, or to see what the weather's like using some "app" on the fridge door, all connected together using the internet.

This always-connected "house of the future" crap comes around every now and then but the most recent one was all wrapped up in a neat slick public-notice marketing advertorial in the Times a few weeks ago, probably taken from somewhere else.

These provide an alternative reason:
- CIA Internet of Things
- CIA wants to spy

As with the Cloud, the snake oil salesmen have been working their magic already and most people will go "ooh, shiny" and buy as many of them as possible.

"If I was plotting something bad, the very last thing I would do is trust Yahoo or Gmail with my intentions."

It is certainly wise to adopt a default position that with any webmail provider someone other than the sender and the recipient will read the email or have a copy of it. This is especially true if the mail provider is subject to retention "laws" which pretty much any of them in the US/UK/EU are. Both of ours are actually on US servers.

"We need to find a new way to communicate. This one is borked."

"The net interprets censorship as damage, and routes around it."



Christopher - Conservative Perspective said...

"Who needs SkyNet when the very companies we trust with our communications are in league with the devil?"


Cheers and great work here!

A little off topic but,,,,,

That last sentence of yours I quoted above jumped out at me being you could easily replace the name and some wording that fits another travesty with the following:

"Who needs the Vatican when the very religion we trust with our faith are in league with the devil?"

I say that due to the trumped up contraception controversy in the USA where suddenly the "Church" has found it has fleas after sleeping with the dog known as worldwide governments or the devil for eons.

Trust, as we knew it, is in very short supply.

nisakiman said...

Although I'm inherently sceptical about the conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11, it is undeniable that that event provided governments in the Western World with the key to unlock just about any attempt at privacy.

It's all about "protecting" you from terrorism. They have to monitor calls, just in case "Al Qaida" (a construct of fevered / devious imaginations if ever there was one) are plotting another major attack.

"Oh, and while we're at it, we'll be checking for drug deals, but that's all. Oh, and money laundering. And planned atrocities from extreme right-wing groups, like BNP. And human trafficking. And Paedophilia. And credit card crime. And general criminal activity. But don't worry - if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear."

Yes, the attack on the twin towers was manna from heaven for the western security agencies. A stick with which to coerce an over-independent population into submission and conformity.

Bill Sticker said...

You know Cap'n, what with EU arrest warrants being issued for crimes that haven't even been committed ('Murder Victim' last seen playing golf in Germany a few days ago) you have a point. The best thing we can do is to highlight the errors and ensure they're being discussed openly. Let the buggers hear, and make sure your disapproval is loud enough to deafen them.

Anonymous said...

The more control desired from the elites, the more draconian the surveillance measures. We know that they've been recording our calls, texts and emails far longer than we've been told they have. Anyone who's watched Casino with Robert Deniro and Joe Pesce will have seen that they had to speak in a public place with their mouths covered in order to foil lip readers and powerful long range microphones.

I'll never write down any plan on an internet blog, email, text message or phone call. You're inviting trouble. However plans must be created and the people fomented not just before the total control network is instituted but while people still have the common sense and intelligence to act. Our generations have been getting dumber with each new one, although we're falsely told otherwise. Soon there won't be the need for any dictionary as slaves don't need to think, just do.



Pete said...

I still use Skype, fuckem if they listen in, they might just learn something!

IanPJ said...

This is not just a local problem, its a global one.

Be afraid, be very afraid.

profoundly_disturbed said...

Ok, I agree, it's not nice.

But what other methods can governments use in their attempts to control us?

How about fear? That would work.

What if it's announced that all your e-mails and digital conversations can be eavesdropped on? Would that generate some isolation? Divide and conquer.

Additionally, read Naomi Klein's No Logo and Shock Doctrine. Her books should be madatory for anone who aspires or purports to be a Freeman.

No offence intended

William said...

Not with you on this one. The way I view the internet is the second anyone interacts with it in any way it is possible, either immediately or at some point in the future, that someone somewhere may record anything I write/read/listen to/watch/say.
This is the price that is paid for freedom of access to information.

Fear is indeed used to control and as with the lovely Gatso camera boxes which may or may not contain cameras it is the fear of maybe.
I truly have no idea of the amount of data that is being added to the Internet every second of every day but I'll lay odds its way beyond measure and way, way beyond collection.