Over the past year or two, someone has been probing the defenses of the companies that run critical pieces of the Internet. These probes take the form of precisely calibrated attacks designed to determine exactly how well these companies can defend themselves, and what would be required to take them down. We don’t know who is doing this, but it feels like a large nation state. China or Russia would be my first guesses.
La base de datos contendría 2.240.000 entradas con categorías como “individuo político”, “corporativo”, “militar”, “Crimen-narcóticos” y “terrorismo”. Estos datos estarían siendo utilizados por más de 300 gobiernos y agencias de inteligencia, nueve de los diez mejores bufetes de abogados o 49 de los 50 bancos más grandes del mundo. En total, se estima que son 6.000 clientes los que la utilizan en 170 países.
Entre los datos filtrados hay información relacionada con agentes del MI6, miembros de la familia real qatarí y del gabinete del gobiernoLa brecha de seguridad afecta a más de 100.000 cuentas bancarias que contienen cerca de 15.000 documentos, con números de tarjeta de créditos, PIN e información personal
Qatar National Bank, the gas-rich Gulf state’s leading lender, has been rocked by a data leak that has exposed the personal details of many of its clients in a file posted on social media that singles out some Al Jazeera staff and purports to identify security officials. The leak contains references to thousands of alleged transactions records of QNB customers, including remittance data to global banks with thousands of alleged beneficiary names and account numbers.
Thanks to Edward Snowden, we know the apparatus of repression has been covertly attached to the democratic state. However, our struggle to retain privacy is far from hopeless
In the third chapter of his History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon gave two reasons why the slavery into which the Romans had tumbled under Augustus and his successors left them more wretched than any previous human slavery. In the first place, Gibbon said, the Romans had carried with them into slavery the culture of a free people: their language and their conception of themselves as human beings presupposed freedom. And thus, says Gibbon, for a long time the Romans preserved the sentiments – or at least the ideas – of a freeborn people. In the second place, the empire of the Romans filled all the world, and when that empire fell into the hands of a single person, the world was a safe and dreary prison for his enemies. As Gibbon wrote, to resist was fatal, and it was impossible to fly.
The power of that Roman empire rested in its leaders’ control of communications. The Mediterranean was their lake. Across their European empire, from Scotland to Syria, they pushed roads that 15 centuries later were still primary arteries of European transportation. Down those roads the emperor marched his armies. Up those roads he gathered his intelligence. The emperors invented the posts to move couriers and messages at the fastest possible speed.
Using that infrastructure, with respect to everything that involved the administration of power, the emperor made himself the best-informed person in the history of the world.
That power eradicated human freedom. “Remember,” said Cicero to Marcellus in exile, “wherever you are, you are equally within the power of the conqueror.”
The empire of the United States after the second world war also depended upon control of communications. This was more evident when, a mere 20 years later, the United States was locked in a confrontation of nuclear annihilation with the Soviet Union. In a war of submarines hidden in the dark below the continents, capable of eradicating human civilisation in less than an hour, the rule of engagement was “launch on warning”. Thus the United States valued control of communications as highly as the Emperor Augustus. Its listeners too aspired to know everything.
We all know that the United States has for decades spent as much on its military might as all other powers in the world combined. Americans are now realising what it means that we applied to the stealing of signals and the breaking of codes a similar proportion of our resources in relation to the rest of the world.
The US system of listening comprises a military command controlling a large civilian workforce. That structure presupposes the foreign intelligence nature of listening activities. Military control was a symbol and guarantee of the nature of the activity being pursued. Wide-scale domestic surveillance under military command would have violated the fundamental principle of civilian control.
Instead what it had was a foreign intelligence service responsible to the president as military commander-in-chief. The chain of military command absolutely ensured respect for the fundamental principle “no listening here”. The boundary between home and away distinguished the permissible from the unconstitutional.
The distinction between home and away was at least technically credible, given the reality of 20th-century communications media, which were hierarchically organised and very often state-controlled.
When the US government chose to listen to other governments abroad – to their militaries, to their diplomatic communications, to their policymakers where possible – they were listening in a world of defined targets. The basic principle was: hack, tap, steal. We listened, we hacked in, we traded, we stole.
In the beginning we listened to militaries and their governments. Later we monitored the flow of international trade as far as it engaged American national security interests.
BY Carola Frediani | Tuesday, April 8 2014
It might seem that there is little connection between Milan and the atrocities occurring in Syria under the regime of President Bashar al-Assad but we now know that a little known Italian tech company called Area SpA was providing Assad with technology that could virtually allow him to seize and search any e-mail that passed through the country. Unfortunately, such an example is now fairly commonplace: Vodafone in Egypt, as well as Siemens and Nokia in Iran, to name a few.
Though Area SpA later announced it was curtailing its surveillance project in Syria, in an alarming trend, surveillance technology companies, many of them in western countries with decent human rights records are selling such technology to countries with fairly sinister ones. This problem, which some activists have called the “digital arms trade” is global and complex in nature and is at the heart of a new global campaign launched on April 4 by an international group of leading NGOs. They banded together to create the Coalition Against Unlawful Surveillance Exports (CAUSE), calling for governments to take action on the international trade in communication surveillance technologies.
The group — which includes Amnesty International, Digitale Gesellschaft, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Human Rights Watch, the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute, Privacy International, and Reporters without Borders — wants governments and private companies to tackle the proliferation and abuse of these technologies across the world, since they are more often than not used to violate their citizens’ right to privacy, free speech and a host of other human rights. World leaders are responsible for keeping such invasive surveillance systems and technologies out of the hands of dictators and oppressive regimes, said the coalition’s organizers.
“What is unique about the CAUSE coalition are the groups that are part of it,” Mike Rispoli, Communication Manager of UK-based Privacy International, says to techPresident. “You have organizations like Privacy International, as well as Open Technology Institute or Digitale Gesellschaft, that focus on technology, digital rights, etc., but you also have more traditional human rights groups like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Reporters without Borders. The reason why this is so important is that there’s a broad recognition that surveillance technologies pose significant threat to the enjoyment of rights around the world, not just the right to privacy but also freedom of expression.”
What exactly do these technologies do? There is malware that allows surreptitious data extraction from personal devices such as phone and PCs; tools that can intercept telecommunications traffic; spygear that geolocates mobile phones and can therefore track their owners; monitoring systems that allow authorities to track entire populations; and devices used to tap undersea fiber optic cables to enable NSA-style internet monitoring and filtering.
Tagblatt Online, 28. Februar 2014, 10:07 Uhr
Kenneth Page NGO Privacy International, London Politikverantwortlicher
Unternehmen haben ihre Exportgesuche für Überwachungssoftware aus der Schweiz zurückgezogen. Zufrieden?
Ja. Die Schweiz hat aber auch eine gute Chance verpasst. Die Regierung hätte viel proaktiver vorgehen und die Exportgesuche ablehnen können. Stattdessen haben die Unternehmen aus Ungeduld nun selber Entscheide gefällt. Die Schweiz hätte auf internationaler Ebene ein viel stärkeres Zeichen setzen können, indem sie die wachsenden Menschenrechtsbedenken gegenüber diesen Technologien anerkannt hätte. Zumal das Land dieses Jahr den OSZE-Vorsitz innehat.
Werden einige dieser Unternehmen nun Überwachungstechnik ohne Erlaubnis exportieren?
Sie brauchen eine Lizenz, um aus der Schweiz zu exportieren. Ansonsten würden sie Exportvorschriften verletzen. Einige Unternehmen haben aber Büros in anderen europäischen Ländern und können unter einer Gesetzgebung arbeiten, die ihnen passt. Die Firma Gamma zum Beispiel hat regionale Büros in Malaysia, den Vereinigten Arabischen Emiraten, Singapur oder Libanon. Es ist zudem wichtig, sich nicht allein auf diese Firmen zu fokussieren, da die Technologie oft über strategische Geschäftspartnerschaften verkauft wird.
Estados Unidos ha advertido a los servicios de inteligencia de otros países de que los documentos obtenidos por Edward Snowden contienen información sobre cómo otras capitales cooperan en secreto con Washington, publicó el jueves un periódico.
Según The Washington Post, algunas de las decenas de miles de documentos extraídos por el ex agente de inteligencia estadounidense contienen material sensible sobre programas extranjeros de recopilación de información contra países como Irán, Rusia y China.