Author Topic: they know what you are doing  (Read 126591 times)

sky otter

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Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #375 on: November 14, 2013, 05:53:33 PM »

well that is just another reason i canceled all the cards but one..and pay cash for everything

went and got a haircut at one of those sign in places and when i went to pay the girl says
can i have your last she sat at the computer..i said no.. just type in susie smith
she smiled and says.. oh that's better than jane doe..we had one of those this morning.
totally unreal.
.stopped at the k mart to pick up a water jug filter that was on sale
the check out rang it up 5 bucks higher
i said that's not the sale price and the girl says
you have to have a rewards card to get that price
i said never mind

so far they aren't finger printing if you have cash
« Last Edit: November 15, 2013, 03:36:47 PM by sky otter »

sky otter

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Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #376 on: November 16, 2013, 05:28:01 AM »

Anonymous-Linked Hackers Accessed U.S. Government Computers, FBI Reportedly Warns

Reuters  |  By Jim Finkle and Joseph Menn
Posted: 11/15/2013 5:42 pm EST

By Jim Finkle and Joseph Menn

BOSTON/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Activist hackers linked to the collective known as Anonymous have secretly accessed U.S. government computers in multiple agencies and stolen sensitive information in a campaign that began almost a year ago, the FBI warned this week.

The hackers exploited a flaw in Adobe Systems Inc's software to launch a rash of electronic break-ins that began last December, then left "back doors" to return to many of the machines as recently as last month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a memo seen by Reuters.

The memo, distributed on Thursday, described the attacks as "a widespread problem that should be addressed." It said the breach affected the U.S. Army, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, and perhaps many more agencies.

Investigators are still gathering information on the scope of the cyber campaign, which the authorities believe is continuing. The FBI document tells system administrators what to look for to determine if their systems are compromised.

An FBI spokeswoman declined to elaborate.

According to an internal email from Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz' chief of staff, Kevin Knobloch, the stolen data included personal information on at least 104,000 employees, contractors, family members and others associated with the Department of Energy, along with information on almost 2,0000 bank accounts.

The email, dated October 11, said officials were "very concerned" that loss of the banking information could lead to thieving attempts.

Officials said the hacking was linked to the case of Lauri Love, a British resident indicted on October 28 for allegedly hacking into computers at the Department of Energy, Army, Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Sentencing Commission and elsewhere.

Investigators believe the attacks began when Love and others took advantage of a security flaw in Adobe's ColdFusion software, which is used to build websites.

Adobe spokeswoman Heather Edell said she was not familiar with the FBI report. She added that the company has found that the majority of attacks involving its software have exploited programs that were not updated with the latest security patches.

The Anonymous group is an amorphous collective that conducts multiple hacking campaigns at any time, some with a few participants and some with hundreds. In the past, its members have disrupted eBay's Inc PayPal after it stopped processing donations to the anti-secrecy site Wikileaks. Anonymous has also launched technically more sophisticated attacks against Sony Corp and security firm HBGary Federal.

Some of the breaches and pilfered data in the latest campaign had previously been publicized by people who identify with Anonymous, as part of what the group dubbed "Operation Last Resort."

Among other things, the campaigners said the operation was in retaliation for overzealous prosecution of hackers, including the lengthy penalties sought for Aaron Swartz, a well-known computer programmer and Internet activist who killed himself before a trial over charges that he illegally downloaded academic journal articles from a digital library known as JSTOR.

Despite the earlier disclosures, "the majority of the intrusions have not yet been made publicly known," the FBI wrote. "It is unknown exactly how many systems have been compromised, but it is a widespread problem that should be addressed."

(Reporting by Joseph Menn in San Francisco and Jim Finkle in Boston; Additional reporting by Valerie Volcovici and Alina Selyukh; Editing by Tiffany Wu and Tim Dobbyn)


Jeremy Hammond Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison
Posted: 11/15/2013 12:23 pm EST  |  Updated: 11/15/2013 2:37 pm EST

NEW YORK -- Convicted hacker Jeremy Hammond was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison for stealing internal emails from the global intelligence firm Stratfor.

Shuffling into courtroom with long, wavy hair and a wide smile, Hammond shouted "what's up, my brothers" to a courtroom packed with scores of supporters. When it was his turn to speak to the court, he claimed in a defiant sentencing statement that his acts were meant to expose the truth and that he hacked foreign government websites at the behest of an FBI informant.

"The acts of civil disobedience and direct action that I am being sentenced for today are in line with the principles of community and equality that have guided my life," Hammond said in a prepared statement provided to HuffPost Live. "I took responsibility for my actions, by pleading guilty, but when will the government be made to answer for its crimes?"

rest here:

Offline Sgt.Rocknroll

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Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #377 on: November 16, 2013, 06:07:04 AM »
I know this too well, having been a victim of the above hackers. My info was compromised by this incident.

they can rot in hell....
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sky otter

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Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #378 on: November 20, 2013, 02:42:57 PM »

it's really getting hard to stay positive and think kindly of your fellow wo/man

Marissa Mayer Takes Big Step To Protect People From NSA
AP  |  Posted: 11/18/2013 2:43 pm EST  |  Updated: 11/18/2013 2:48 pm EST

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Yahoo is expanding its efforts to protect its users' online activities from prying eyes by encrypting all the communications and other information flowing into the Internet company's data centers around the world.

The commitment announced Monday by Yahoo Inc. CEO Marissa Mayer follows a recent Washington Post report that the National Security Agency has been hacking into the communications lines of the data centers run by Yahoo and Google Inc. to intercept information about what people do and say online.

Yahoo had previously promised to encrypt its email service by early January. Now, the Sunnyvale, California, company plans to have all data encrypted by the end of March to make it more difficult for unauthorized parties to decipher the information.

Google began to encrypt its Gmail service in 2010 and has since introduced the security measure on many other services. The Mountain View, California, company has promised to encrypt the links to its data centers, too. A Google engineer said that task had been completed in a post on his Google Plus account earlier this month, but the company hasn't yet confirmed all the encryption work is done.

Other documents leaked to various media outlets by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden this year have revealed that Yahoo, Google and several other prominent technology companies, including Microsoft Corp., Facebook Inc. and Apple Inc., have been feeding the U.S. government some information about their international users under a court-monitored program called PRISM. The companies maintain they have only surrendered data about a very small number of users, and have only cooperated when legally required.

The NSA says its online surveillance programs have played an instrumental role in thwarting terrorism.

The increased use of encryption technology is aimed at stymieing government surveillance that may be occurring without the companies' knowledge. Even when it's encrypted, online data can still be heisted, but the information looks like gibberish without the decoding keys.

"I want to reiterate what we have said in the past: Yahoo has never given access to our data centers to the NSA or to any other government agency," Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer wrote in a Monday post on the company's Tumblr blog.

Facebook also has said it's cloaking its social networking network with greater encryption, but hasn't publicly set a timetable for getting all the added protection in place.

Debunking the perception that the NSA and other U.S. government agencies can easily vacuum up potentially sensitive information about people's online lives is important to Yahoo, Google and other Internet companies because they need Web surfers to regularly use their services so they can sell more of the digital ads that bring in most of their revenue.

The companies fear the government spying revelations eventually will drive some people away from their services and make it more difficult to attract more users outside the U.S. If that were to happen, it could slow the companies' financial growth and undercut their stock prices.

Yahoo has been struggling to boost its revenue for years, making it even more important for the company to reassure its 800 million users worldwide about the sanctity of their personal information.


Google To Pay $17 Million Fine For Secretly Following You Online

 Posted: 11/18/2013 1:51 pm EST

Gerry Smith

Google has agreed to pay $17 million to settle charges that it secretly tracked some consumers' activities on the Web, even after promising such tracking had been blocked, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Monday.

Attorneys general in 28 states had alleged that Google violated state consumer protection laws and computer privacy laws by not telling users of Apple's Safari browser that it was bypassing privacy settings in order to show them targeted advertisements.

"Consumers should be able to know whether there are other eyes surfing the web with them,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “By tracking millions of people without their knowledge, Google violated not only their privacy, but also their trust.”

The case stems from Google’s method of displaying targeted ads by using "cookies," or small files installed on web browsers that create invisible records of online browsing habits. Google had said on its website that Safari's privacy settings could prevent Google from tracking these cookies. But a story in the Wall Street Journal last year revealed that Google was able to go around those settings by exploiting a loophole in Safari's browser, and then track users across websites in the company's DoubleClick ad network. For example, a Safari user who visited websites on how to get out of debt could then be served Google ads on other sites offering them debt relief services.

"We work hard to get privacy right at Google and have taken steps to remove the ad cookies, which collected no personal information, from Apple’s browsers," the company said in a statement. "We're pleased to have worked with the state attorneys general to reach this agreement."

In a separate case brought last year by the Federal Trade Commission, Google agreed to pay a $22.5 million fine over similar charges that it bypassed privacy settings in the Safari browser. That fine was the largest settlement ever obtained by the commission.

Google did not admit to wrongdoing in the FTC case, and said the tracking was accidental.

The $40 million in fines that Google has agreed to pay to settle charges in both cases is but a small fraction of the search giant's total revenue, which was $50 billion last year.

Meanwhile, Google is still fighting other charges of privacy violations. In September, a federal appeals court ruled that a suit accusing Google of illegal wiretapping could proceed. The suit involves the company's controversial Street View vehicles, which secretly gathered data from private computers via Wi-Fi as they created detailed maps of the world.


What Your Cell Phone Company Doesn't Want You To Know

Wireless Carriers Block Simple Solution To Phone Theft To Protect Profits, Prosecutor Says

Posted: 11/20/2013 3:07 pm EST  |  Updated: 11/20/2013 3:11 pm EST

As cell phone robberies have soared nationwide, phone companies have found a lucrative side business offering insurance to customers who are anxious their devices may be lost or stolen.

The top four wireless carriers will earn more than $7.8 billion this year in insurance premiums from their customers, according to an estimate by Warranty Week, an industry trade publication. Asurion, a phone insurance company that pays the wireless carriers for each policy they sell, made an estimated $98 million in profit in 2010, according to Businessweek.

“If you do the math, the phone companies are making out like bandits," said Richard Doherty, a director for Envisioneering Group, a market research firm.

Now, a top prosecutor is claiming that phone companies looking to preserve their profits from selling phone insurance are standing in the way of a solution that could protect consumers from violent robberies.

rest of article here

Offline Amaterasu

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Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #379 on: November 20, 2013, 05:09:11 PM »
Google To Pay $17 Million Fine For Secretly Following You Online

The question is.....

"If the universe is made of mostly Dark Energy...can We use it to run Our cars?"

"If You want peace, take the profit out of war."

sky otter

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Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #380 on: November 20, 2013, 05:29:47 PM »

it's a fine so  my guess was to whoever made the rule..
not the consumers though...sigh
here's what i found

Google last year paid a $22.5 million fine to the US Federal Trade Commission on the same issue.
The latest settlement includes 37 states and the federal District of Columbia. New York will receive $899,580, Schneiderman said.

Google to Pay $17M to Settle Safari Privacy Case
Google is paying $17 million to 37 states and the District of Columbia to make amends for the Internet search leader's snooping on millions of people using Safari Web browsers in 2011 and 2012.
The $17 million fine comes months after Google agreed to pay $22.5 million to the FTC for the same practice of placing unauthorized tracking cookies.
SAN FRANCISCO — Google agreed on Monday to pay $17 million to 37 states and the District of Columbia in a wide-reaching settlement over tracking consumers online without their knowledge.

Offline Amaterasu

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Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #381 on: November 20, 2013, 06:38:54 PM »
So We the Humans, the wronged, don't get a part of any of it, it would seem.  Hmmmm.

Thanks for the research, sky! GFY!
"If the universe is made of mostly Dark Energy...can We use it to run Our cars?"

"If You want peace, take the profit out of war."

Offline zorgon

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Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #382 on: November 20, 2013, 10:27:14 PM »
So We the Humans, the wronged, don't get a part of any of it, it would seem.  Hmmmm.

You expected different in this Paradigm?  :P

But the important issue here is...

SOMEONE nailed google for spying on us...

That means there is some light at the end of the tunnel that doesn't have the train in it

And SOMEONE naile JP Morgan for billions of dollars for crooked trading.

May be drops in the bucket but a bucket can be filled by drops :D

sky otter

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Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #383 on: November 21, 2013, 07:09:49 AM »

ahhhhhhhh the masses are

Facebook Launches New Privacy Policies And You Still Can Be Used For Ads

The Huffington Post  |  By Drew Guarini Posted: 11/16/2013 7:10 pm EST  |  Updated: 11/16/2013 7:14 pm EST

Are you sitting down? Doesn't matter, this isn't going to surprise you.

Facebook reaffirmed its position on Friday that it's able to use the postings and personal information of 1.2 billion accounts on the service for advertising purposes. The social media website announced the new privacy policies in a blog post on the site.

Facebook initially included, then removed, a line about how minors who join the site needed a parent or guardian to give consent before they are used in ads. Facebook now says that this permission is granted once the teen signs up for the site.

The changes were first proposed by Facebook in August, then drew the attention of the Federal Trade Commission after privacy groups complained in September that Facebook was exploiting minors. The changes followed Facebook's $20 million settlement in August of a class action lawsuit that claimed the company's "Sponsored Stories" platform had shared users' "likes" without paying them or allowing them to opt out.

In 2011, Facebook and the FTC had reached a separate settlement over alleged privacy violations by the site. Facebook agreed to scheduled checkups by "independent, third-party auditors" over the next 20 years to ensure that the company's privacy policies and practices do not violate users' rights.

In the blog post Friday explaining the policy, Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan said the sentence regarding minors did not grant the company any additional rights over user content. After receiving feedback, the company agreed "that the language was confusing" and "removed the sentence."

Despite Facebook's clarification, many members of the site remain confused about their privacy options. In the August settlement, Facebook was ordered to implement provisions to make its user privacy policy more transparent. One part of the policy says the company will give parents the chance to prevent their children's information from being used in ads, and that the site will let users know if any comments they made on the site were turned into a "Sponsored Stories" ad, giving them the chance to opt out.

“The innovative controls we agreed to in connection with the settlement take time to build,” Jodi Seth, a Facebook spokeswoman told The New York Times in a Friday story. She offered no timetable for introducing them.

sky otter

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Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #384 on: November 26, 2013, 08:12:15 AM »

N.S.A. May Have Hit Internet Companies at a Weak Spot
Published: November 25, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO — The recent revelation that the National Security Agency was able to eavesdrop on the communications of Google and Yahoo users without breaking into either companies’ data centers sounded like something pulled from a Robert Ludlum spy thriller.

How on earth, the companies asked, did the N.S.A. get their data without them knowing about it?

The most likely answer is a modern spin on a century-old eavesdropping tradition.

People knowledgeable about Google and Yahoo’s infrastructure say they believe that government spies bypassed the big Internet companies and hit them at a weak spot — the fiber-optic cables that connect data centers around the world that are owned by companies like Verizon Communications, the BT Group, the Vodafone Group and Level 3 Communications. In particular, fingers have been pointed at Level 3, the world’s largest so-called Internet backbone provider, whose cables are used by Google and Yahoo.

The Internet companies’ data centers are locked down with full-time security and state-of-the-art surveillance, including heat sensors and iris scanners. But between the data centers — on Level 3’s fiber-optic cables that connected those massive computer farms — information was unencrypted and an easier target for government intercept efforts, according to three people with knowledge of Google’s and Yahoo’s systems who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

It is impossible to say for certain how the N.S.A. managed to get Google and Yahoo’s data without the companies’ knowledge. But both companies, in response to concerns over those vulnerabilities, recently said they were now encrypting data that runs on the cables between their data centers. Microsoft is considering a similar move.

“Everyone was so focused on the N.S.A. secretly getting access to the front door that there was an assumption they weren’t going behind the companies’ backs and tapping data through the back door, too,” said Kevin Werbach, an associate professor at the Wharton School.

Data transmission lines have a long history of being tapped.

As far back as the days of the telegraph, spy agencies have located their operations in proximity to communications companies. Indeed, before the advent of the Internet, the N.S.A. and its predecessors for decades operated listening posts next to the long-distance lines of phone companies to monitor all international voice traffic.

Beginning in the 1960s, a spy operation code-named Echelon targeted the Soviet Union and its allies’ voice, fax and data traffic via satellite, microwave and fiber-optic cables.

In the 1990s, the emergence of the Internet both complicated the task of the intelligence agencies and presented powerful new spying opportunities based on the ability to process vast amounts of computer data.

In 2002, John M. Poindexter, former national security adviser under President Ronald Reagan, proposed the Total Information Awareness plan, an effort to scan the world’s electronic information — including phone calls, emails and financial and travel records. That effort was scrapped in 2003 after a public outcry over potential privacy violations.

The technologies Mr. Poindexter proposed are similar to what became reality years later in N.S.A. surveillance programs like Prism and Bullrun.

The Internet effectively mingled domestic and international communications, erasing the bright line that had been erected to protect against domestic surveillance. Although the Internet is designed to be a highly decentralized system, in practice a small group of backbone providers carry almost all of the network’s data.

The consequences of the centralization and its value for surveillance was revealed in 2006 by Mark Klein, an AT&T technician who described an N.S.A. listening post inside a room at an AT&T switching facility.

The agency was capturing a copy of all the data passing over the telecommunications links and then filtering it in AT&T facilities that housed systems that were able to filter data packets at high speed.

Documents taken by Edward J. Snowden and reported by The Washington Post indicate that, seven years after Mr. Klein first described the N.S.A.’s surveillance technologies, they have been refined and modernized.

“From Echelon to Total Information Awareness to Prism, all these programs have gone under different names, but in essence do the same thing,” said Chip Pitts, a law lecturer at Stanford University School of Law.

Based in the Denver suburbs, Level 3 is not a household name like Verizon or AT&T, but in terms of its ability to carry traffic, it is bigger than the other two carriers combined. Its networking equipment is found in 200 data centers in the United States, more than 100 centers in Europe and 14 in Latin America.

Level 3 did not directly respond to an inquiry about whether it had given the N.S.A., or the agency’s foreign intelligence partners, access to Google and Yahoo’s data. In a statement, Level 3 said: “It is our policy and our practice to comply with laws in every country where we operate, and to provide government agencies access to customer data only when we are compelled to do so by the laws in the country where the data is located.”

Also, in a financial filing, Level 3 noted that, “We are party to an agreement with the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense addressing the U.S. government’s national security and law enforcement concerns. This agreement imposes significant requirements on us related to information storage and management; traffic management; physical, logical and network security arrangements; personnel screening and training; and other matters.”

Security experts say that regardless of whether Level 3’s participation is voluntary or not, recent N.S.A. disclosures make clear that even when Internet giants like Google and Yahoo do not hand over data, the N.S.A. and its intelligence partners can simply gather their data downstream.

That much was true last summer when United States authorities first began tracking Mr. Snowden’s movements after he left Hawaii for Hong Kong with thousands of classified documents. In May, authorities contacted Ladar Levison, who ran Lavabit, Mr. Snowden’s email provider, to install a tap on Mr. Snowden’s email account. When Mr. Levison did not move quickly enough to facilitate the tap on Lavabit’s network, the Federal Bureau of Investigation did so without him.

Mr. Levison said it was unclear how that tap was installed, whether through Level 3, which sold bandwidth to Lavabit, or at the Dallas facility where his servers and networking equipment are stored. When Mr. Levison asked the facility’s manager about the tap, he was told the manager could not speak with him. A spokesman for TierPoint, which owns the Dallas facility, did not return a call seeking a comment.

Mr. Pitts said that while working as the chief legal officer at Nokia in the 1990s, he successfully fended off an effort by intelligence agencies to get backdoor access into Nokia’s computer networking equipment.

Nearly 20 years later, Verizon has said that it and other carriers are forced to comply with government requests in every country in which they operate, and are limited in what they can say about their arrangements.

“At the end of the day, if the Justice Department shows up at your door, you have to comply,” Lowell C. McAdam, Verizon’s chief executive, said in an interview in September. “We have gag orders on what we can say and can’t defend ourselves, but we were told they do this with every carrier.”

Offline Elvis Hendrix

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Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #385 on: November 27, 2013, 03:26:36 AM »
NSA 'infected' 50,000 networks with malware

The NSA and GCHQ are alleged to have installed malware on the networks of targets including the Belgian telecoms firm Belgacom

The US National Security Agency (NSA) infected 50,000 networks with malware, Dutch newspaper NRC has reported.

The Tailored Access Operations department used it to steal sensitive information, according to a censored slide leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

NRC said 20,000 networks had been hit in 2008, with the program recently expanded to include others in Rome, Berlin, Pristina, Kinshasa, Rangoon.

The NSA declined to comment.

The malware could be put in a "sleeper" mode and activated with a click of a button, the paper said.

"Clearly, conventional criminal gangs aren't the only people interested in breaking into computer networks anymore," wrote computer security expert Graham Cluley in a blogpost.

"All organisations need to ask themselves the question of whether they could be at risk."

The reports come as Twitter introduces technology it says will help protect people's messages from unwanted scrutiny.

It has employed a system known as "forward secrecy" that makes it harder for eavesdroppers to access the keys used to encrypt data passing between Twitter's servers and users' phones, tablets and PCs.
"Today, a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration – that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There's no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we're the imagination of ourselves. Here's Tom with the weather."
B H.

sky otter

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Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #386 on: November 27, 2013, 08:59:34 AM »

Elvis... thanks for adding this.. i hope others will add what they see...
kinda keepin a rocord of all the bs   ::)

Offline Somamech

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Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #387 on: November 27, 2013, 09:54:20 AM »
From techincal viewpoint regarding tagerted advert's you have to give some credit as thats some pretty nailed down info gathering.  Just at work the other day I noticed an Advert for an Arab Single's Dating Agency.  The first I have ever seen of such a site, and it's due to working with someone born here in OZ with a Lebanese Background USING the WEB at WORK.  Obviously work has a strict web policy like anywhere else on this planet where web access is considered a staple.  IE the PERSON at work is not looking up ARAB pron or what have you in their spare time. 

Also coming from a techical viewpoint and marketing it's also quite easy to see how the technology is not that quite good, and Marketing Dept's for the most part have no idea how to pull their easy money drip feed out of "the old pardigm" as some would say, and get with the program.  If you watch any Google Video and you don't have some ad blocking program its clear to see Marketing People snort too much coke and have no idea how to convey a message before viewer click's the skip button one the timeout occur's.

Having said all that I don't agree with all these Google's and this and that, but at the same time we must realise they are also not censoring anyone to any major degree.  You can still make it in this world using the web, the game is lopsided thats for sure... But is was also lopsided until the Ewoks figured out how to ride The best Sci-Fi rendition of two wheels going ;)

And also remember that prior to the last few years we all were born and had signed doc's handed over to our gov officials stating our name and birth date etc.  That has happened for a long time well before the web. And honestly when you think about privacy that's probably the craziest info to give away along with getting married and signing gov documents.

People fight though and thats GOOD. This world we live aint right, aint fair and what have you, but the platform still allow's for change, and the smart people always figure out how to manipulate it! 




Offline Somamech

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Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #388 on: November 27, 2013, 10:08:30 AM »
It could also be argued that Google have created the world's most Interactive TV platform in the form of Youtube that people can make money from and quit their day jobs purley from from spouting message's that are anti Illuminati.  Go ask the people that are making good buck's doing just that on youtube ;)



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Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #389 on: November 29, 2013, 11:21:41 PM »

adding to  what Elvis  shared

Report: NSA Has Infected 50,000 Networks with Spyware

By Seth Fitzgerald
November 25, 2013 10:54AM

"[A] presentation shows that the intelligence service uses 'Computer Network Exploitation' (CNE) in more than 50,000 locations," said the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, which broke the story with information from former NSA contract employee Edward Snowden. "CNE is the secret infiltration of computer systems achieved by installing malware."

 It appears the National Security Agency will stop at nothing to gain information on as many people as possible. This comes after a new report that the U.S. government organization infected 50,000 networks with malware in order to directly steal data.
This malware, according to the report, can lay dormant for as long as the NSA wants it to, before the agency turns the software  on to begin collecting information. By keeping the virus hidden and using various tactics to keep it hidden, network administrators are unlikely to know whether their network has been compromised.

Only Getting Worse

If the report ends up being correct the NSA has been infecting computers for some time and has been increasing the scope of the program. This sort of data-gathering is coming from just one part of the agency, called TAO (Tailored Access Operations). For the most part, this sector of the NSA is rarely talked about and is one of the more secretive areas of the organization.

As of 2008, the NSA had infected 20,000 networks around the world, including in Europe and the United States. However, the agency has been stepping up its network infiltration program to include 50,000 networks in numerous other areas, including in Rome; Berlin; Pristina, Kosovo; Kinshasa, the Congo; and Rangoon, Myanmar.

"[A] presentation shows that the intelligence  service uses 'Computer Network Exploitation' (CNE) in more than 50,000 locations," said the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, which broke the story with information provided by former NSA contract employee Edward Snowden. "CNE is the secret infiltration of computer systems achieved by installing malware, malicious software."

Unlike some of its other spying programs, the NSA does not have any intention of ramping down its infiltration practices any time soon. Within the next couple of years, the agency would like to have as many as 80,000 networks infiltrated with the elusive malware, according to the report.

Stepping Down

With the Snowden revelations ruining the NSA's reputation and causing the vast majority of U.S. citizens to criticize the agency's practices, NSA Director Keith Alexander is stepping down next year. Alexander's decision to remove himself from the NSA has been known since October, but a new report shows that the director may have been trying to resign since the first Snowden leaks came out.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, Alexander has been trying to get away from the NSA for a while in order to save whatever reputation he can. Even though he offered to resign, the Obama administration apparently chose to deny his offer, forcing him to wait it out.

"The offer, which hasn't previously been reported, was declined by the Obama administration," the Journal said. "But it shows the degree to which Mr. Snowden's revelations have shaken the NSA's foundations -- unlike any event in its six-decade history, including the blowback against domestic spying in the 1970s."


NSA infected 50,000 networks with specialized malware
Lucian Constantin, IDG News Service
Nov 25, 2013 5:34 AM

Lucian Constantin, IDG News ServiceReporter, IDG News Service, IDG News Service
Lucian Constantin writes about information security, privacy and data protection.
More by Lucian Constantin, IDG News Service

The U.S. National Security Agency reportedly hacked into over 50,000 computer networks around the world as part of its global intelligence gathering efforts, and also taps into large fiber optic cables that transport Internet traffic between continents at 20 different major points.

The agency installed specialized malware referred to as "implants" on over 50,000 devices in order to perform Computer Network Exploitation (CNE), Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad reported Saturday based on documents it said were leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The information is reportedly taken from a 2012 top secret presentation about the NSA's worldwide signals intelligence gathering capabilities that was shared with the intelligence services of Australia, Canada, the U.K. and New Zealand that form the Five Eyes partnership.

CNE is one of three types of Computer Network Operations that NSA computer specialists perform. It "includes enabling actions and intelligence collection via computer networks that exploit data gathered from target or enemy information systems or networks," the NSA says on its careers website.

According to a presentation slide published by NRC, the NSA deployed over 50,000 CNE "implants" world-wide.

The Washington Post reported in August that the attack tools used for these implants are developed by a specialized NSA team called Tailored Access Operations (TAO) and are designed to compromise routers, switches and firewalls to monitor entire networks.

The implants persist through software and equipment upgrades and can be used to harvest communications, copy stored data and tunnel into the compromised networks from outside, according to the Washington Post. Their number is expected to reach over 85,000 by the end of 2013.

The slide leaked by NRC also reveals that, aside from CNEs, NSA has access to large Internet cables at 20 different locations, most of them outside the U.S.; runs over 80 regional Special Collection Service (SCS) installations that are part of a joint CIA-NSA program used for close surveillance operations and wiretapping; maintains liaison with 30 third-party countries outside of the Five Eyes; and has access to 52 regional facilities dedicated to intercepting foreign satellite communications (FORNSAT). USA, LLC
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