"Optic Nerve" program collected Yahoo webcam images in bulk | 1.8m users targeted by UK agency in six-month period alone | Yahoo: ‘A whole new level of violation of our users’ privacy’ | Material included large quantity of sexually explicit images
Britain’s surveillance agency GCHQ, with aid from the US National Security Agency, intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of internet users not suspected of wrongdoing, secret documents reveal.
GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010 explicitly state that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target or not.
In one six-month period in 2008 alone, the agency collected webcam imagery – including substantial quantities of sexually explicit communications – from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts globally.
Yahoo reacted furiously to the webcam interception when approached by the Guardian. The company denied any prior knowledge of the program, accusing the agencies of “a whole new level of violation of our users’ privacy”.
GCHQ does not have the technical means to make sure no images of UK or US citizens are collected and stored by the system, and there are no restrictions under UK law to prevent Americans’ images being accessed by British analysts without an individual warrant.
Sexually explicit webcam material proved to be a particular problem for GCHQ, as one document delicately put it: “Unfortunately … it would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person. Also, the fact that the Yahoo software allows more than one person to view a webcam stream without necessarily sending a reciprocal stream means that it appears sometimes to be used for broadcasting pornography.”
This is a long read, but if you have any interest at all in Julian Assange or WikiLeaks or hacking or journalism, I really recommend reading the whole thing. It’s the tale of what it was like to try and work with Assange - the self-described “most Dangerous Man in the World” to try and compile an autobiography. It’s a great story and a great piece of writing.
I asked him if he had a working title yet and he said, to laughter, ‘Yes. “Ban This Book: From Swedish Whores to Pentagon Bores”.’ It was interesting to see how he parried with some notion of himself as a public figure, as a rock star really, when all the activists I’ve ever known tend to see themselves as marginal and possibly eccentric figures. Assange referred a number of times to the fact that people were in love with him, but I couldn’t see the coolness, the charisma he took for granted. He spoke at length about his ‘enemies’, mainly the Guardian and the New York Times.
[Venture Capitalist Tom] Perkins now detailing “persecution” of the Koch brothers.
Perkins says “the extreme progressivity” of the US tax code “is persecution” of the rich.
Perkins points out that “the twitters” about him “are all pretty negative.” Chalks it up to the youngs.
Q: “Are you connected to reality?” A: “Philosophically, probably nobody can prove that they are connected to reality.”
As is customary here, Perkins now being asked, as last question, how to save the world. He says answer will make more angry that WSJ piece Answer involves returning to idea that you have to be a landowner to vote. “The Tom Perkins system is you don’t get to vote unless you pay $1 in taxes” and “if you pay $1M in taxes you get 1 million votes”
There is nothing superior or progressive about rich people in the tech industry. They hate almost everybody, and they especially hate anybody who works for a living.
My $50,000 Twitter Username Was Stolen Thanks to PayPal and GoDaddy I had a rare Twitter username, @N. Yep, just one letter. I’ve been offered as much as $50,000 for it. People have tried to steal it. Password reset instructions are a regular sight in my email inbox. As of today, I no longer control @N. I was extorted into giving it up. While eating lunch on January 20, 2014, I received a text message from PayPal for one-time validation code. Somebody was trying to steal my PayPal account. I ignored it and continued eating….[more at the link.]
This is important for any major city with a tech business base. It’s coming to a head first in SF, and the city is fumbling it very badly, favoring Google over the citizens and taxpayers. Others will have to watch and see how this plays out. I love San Francisco, but the brazen, careless approach taken by Google and other tech companies in the city actually have me wondering if this might not escalate into violence if the people feel like they’re being treated as badly as they seem to be right now.
Busing is just one element of a perfect storm brewing in San Francisco — tech workers vs. the rest of the city — where proponents of the free market come head to head with people unhappy with the loopholes in that market, i.e. the millions in tax breaks offered to tech companies like Twitter or the Ellis Act. The activist argument is that if tech companies don’t have to pay taxes (or fines), they should somehow be responsible for protecting the community in other ways.
While it is a perfect storm, there is no perfect solution for the problems caused by the tech boom and no straightforward explanation as to how the busing affects the real estate crisis, though every resident has an opinion on it — usually emotionally charged.
I modified this post because I don’t have any business telling anybody what setting to change to. Just be aware that Google added this Gmail setting and defaulted it to the least secure setting. You may want to change it.
The callers that Seely recorded thought they were speaking directly to the government agencies because they looked up the telephone number on Google Maps. What they didn’t know was that Seely had set up fake listings for the San Francisco FBI office and Secret Service in Washington, D.C., displaying numbers that went to a phone account he set up rather than the federal offices. After Seely’s numbers received the calls, they were seamlessly forwarded to the real offices the callers were trying to reach, only now the audio of their conversations with real federal agents was being captured by Seely. Seely told Valleywag:
Who is gonna think twice about what Google publishes on their maps? Everyone trusts Google implicitly and it’s completely unwarranted and it’s completely unsafe. I could make a duplicate of the White House and take every inbound phone call from the White House. I could do it for every Senator, every Congressman, every mayor, every governor—every Democratic, every Republican candidate. Every office.
The Asahi News Network has posted video of MtGox CEO Mark Karpeles’ Tokyo press conference admitting all 850,000 bitcoins — worth nearly half a billion dollars — held by the exchange are gone, and that the firm is filing for bankruptcy.
"We have lost bitcoins due to weaknesses in the system," the France-born Karpeles said in Japanese according to the AFP. "We are really sorry for causing trouble to all the people concerned," he said, before bowing deeply.
MtGox was once the world’s largest bitcoin exchange. Federal investigators in both Japan and the U.S. have launched probes into possible criminal conduct there.
I like the advice on Daring Fireball: Instead of investing in BitCoin, you should just flush your money in your toilet, $100 at a time. The result is the same, but the difference is that with the toilet you actually know where your money went. [also, i hate mtgox for putting me in the position of reblogging anything published in Business Insider in the first place…]
Oh, for Christ’s sake, Groupon, get it together.
Yesterday (Feb 5 2014) NBC News ran a story claiming that if you bring your mobile phone or laptop to the Sochi Olympics, it’ll immediately be hacked the moment you turn it on. The story was fraudulent. It was about going to the Olympics in cyberspace (visiting websites), not going to their in person and using their local WiFi.More at the link…
The story shows Richard Engel “getting hacked” while in a cafe at Sochi. It is wrong in every respect.
They aren’t actually in Sochi (they are in Moscow).
The “hack” happens because of the websites they visit (Olympic themed websites), not their physical location. The results would’ve been the same in America.
The phone didn’t “get hacked”, Richard Engel initiated the download of a hostile Android app onto his phone.
I had expected the story to be about the situation with WiFi in Sochi, such as man-in-the-middle attacks inserting the Blackhole toolkit into web pages exploiting the latest Flash 0day. But the story was nothing of the sort. Instead, the hacking in the story was due to the hostility of Olympic themed websites. The only increased danger from being in Russia is geolocation. Google uses your IP address to rate local sites above websites across the world, so you’ll see more dodgy Russian sites in the results. You can disable this feature in your Google account settings.
I know it’s only January, but I’m still hopeful that this will be the dumbest thing any of us will read all year. It’s a weird rant by an old Venture Capitalist in Silicon Valley, comparing the efforts to reduce income inequality in 2014 America to the persecution and murder of Jews of all economic classes by the nazis. Can’t wait to see what the Valley’s defenders of obliviousness and arrogance have to say about this. It’s a corollary to Godwin’s Law that the person in any argument who first compares his opponent to Hitler or the nazis automatically loses. Well, enjoy what this old loser has to say to the Wall Street Journal:
Regarding your editorial "Censors on Campus" (Jan. 18): Writing from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its “one percent,” namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the “rich.”
From the Occupy movement to the demonization of the rich embedded in virtually every word of our local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent. There is outraged public reaction to the Google buses carrying technology workers from the city to the peninsula high-tech companies which employ them. We have outrage over the rising real-estate prices which these “techno geeks” can pay. We have, for example, libelous and cruel attacks in the Chronicle on our number-one celebrity, the author Danielle Steel, alleging that she is a “snob” despite the millions she has spent on our city’s homeless and mentally ill over the past decades.
This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent “progressive” radicalism unthinkable now?
Mr. Perkins is a founder of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
Another reason why an Apple/Nest acquisition doesn’t add up is because, quite frankly, it just doesn’t add up. Google is paying $3.2 billion for Nest Labs, an astronomical amount for a company as stingy as Apple.
For some context, Apple’s most expensive acquisition to date was the $404 million it paid to acquire NeXT (and Steve Jobs).
Now if we take a look at Apple’s 10 most expensive acquisitions with a publicized purchase price, here’s what we come up with.
NeXT - $404 million
Power Computing - $100 million
P.A. Semi - $278 million
Quattro Wireless - $275 million
Intrinsity - $121 million
C3 Technologies - $267 million
Anobit - $390 million
AuthenTec - $356 million
PrimeSense - $345 million
Topsy - $200 million