Thursday, October 6, 2016

Thursday 10-06-16

 Exclusive: Yahoo secretly scanned customer emails for U.S. intelligence - sources

Yahoo Inc last year secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers' incoming emails for specific information provided by U.S. intelligence officials, according to people familiar with the matter.
The company complied with a classified U.S. government demand, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency or FBI, said three former employees and a fourth person apprised of the events.
Some surveillance experts said this represents the first case to surface of a U.S. Internet company agreeing to an intelligence agency's request by searching all arriving messages, as opposed to examining stored messages or scanning a small number of accounts in real time.
It is not known what information intelligence officials were looking for, only that they wanted Yahoo to search for a set of characters. That could mean a phrase in an email or an attachment, said the sources, who did not want to be identified.
Reuters was unable to determine what data Yahoo may have handed over, if any, and if intelligence officials had approached other email providers besides Yahoo with this kind of request.
According to two of the former employees, Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer's decision to obey the directive roiled some senior executives and led to the June 2015 departure of Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos, who now holds the top security job at Facebook Inc.
"Yahoo is a law abiding company, and complies with the laws of the United States," the company said in a brief statement in response to Reuters questions about the demand. Yahoo declined any further comment.
Through a Facebook spokesman, Stamos declined a request for an interview.
The NSA referred questions to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which declined to comment.
The request to search Yahoo Mail accounts came in the form of a classified edict sent to the company's legal team, according to the three people familiar with the matter.
U.S. phone and Internet companies are known to have handed over bulk customer data to intelligence agencies. But some former government officials and private surveillance experts said they had not previously seen either such a broad demand for real-time Web collection or one that required the creation of a new computer program.
"I've never seen that, a wiretap in real time on a 'selector,'" said Albert Gidari, a lawyer who represented phone and Internet companies on surveillance issues for 20 years before moving to Stanford University this year. A selector refers to a type of search term used to zero in on specific information.
"It would be really difficult for a provider to do that," he added.
 Experts said it was likely that the NSA or FBI had approached other Internet companies with the same demand, since they evidently did not know what email accounts were being used by the target. The NSA usually makes requests for domestic surveillance through the FBI, so it is hard to know which agency is seeking the information.
Alphabet Inc's Google and Microsoft Corp, two major U.S. email service providers, separately said on Tuesday that they had not conducted such email searches.
"We've never received such a request, but if we did, our response would be simple: 'No way'," a spokesman for Google said in a statement.
A Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement, "We have never engaged in the secret scanning of email traffic like what has been reported today about Yahoo." The company declined to comment on whether it had received such a request.

Under laws including the 2008 amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, intelligence agencies can ask U.S. phone and Internet companies to provide customer data to aid foreign intelligence-gathering efforts for a variety of reasons, including prevention of terrorist attacks.

Disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and others have exposed the extent of electronic surveillance and led U.S. authorities to modestly scale back some of the programs, in part to protect privacy rights.
Companies including Yahoo have challenged some classified surveillance before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a secret tribunal.
Some FISA experts said Yahoo could have tried to fight last year's demand on at least two grounds: the breadth of the directive and the necessity of writing a special program to search all customers' emails in transit.
Apple Inc made a similar argument earlier this year when it refused to create a special program to break into an encrypted iPhone used in the 2015 San Bernardino massacre. The FBI dropped the case after it unlocked the phone with the help of a third party, so no precedent was set.
"It is deeply disappointing that Yahoo declined to challenge this sweeping surveillance order, because customers are counting on technology companies to stand up to novel spying demands in court," Patrick Toomey, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement.
Some FISA experts defended Yahoo's decision to comply, saying nothing prohibited the surveillance court from ordering a search for a specific term instead of a specific account. So-called "upstream" bulk collection from phone carriers based on content was found to be legal, they said, and the same logic could apply to Web companies' mail.
As tech companies become better at encrypting data, they are likely to face more such requests from spy agencies.

Former NSA General Counsel Stewart Baker said email providers "have the power to encrypt it all, and with that comes added responsibility to do some of the work that had been done by the intelligence agencies."

Mayer and other executives ultimately decided to comply with the directive last year rather than fight it, in part because they thought they would lose, said the people familiar with the matter.
Yahoo in 2007 had fought a FISA demand that it conduct searches on specific email accounts without a court-approved warrant. Details of the case remain sealed, but a partially redacted published opinion showed Yahoo's challenge was unsuccessful.
Some Yahoo employees were upset about the decision not to contest the more recent edict and thought the company could have prevailed, the sources said.
They were also upset that Mayer and Yahoo General Counsel Ron Bell did not involve the company's security team in the process, instead asking Yahoo's email engineers to write a program to siphon off messages containing the character string the spies sought and store them for remote retrieval, according to the sources.
The sources said the program was discovered by Yahoo's security team in May 2015, within weeks of its installation. The security team initially thought hackers had broken in.
When Stamos found out that Mayer had authorized the program, he resigned as chief information security officer and told his subordinates that he had been left out of a decision that hurt users' security, the sources said. Due to a programming flaw, he told them hackers could have accessed the stored emails.
Stamos's announcement in June 2015 that he had joined Facebook did not mention any problems with Yahoo. (
In a separate incident, Yahoo last month said "state-sponsored" hackers had gained access to 500 million customer accounts in 2014. The revelations have brought new scrutiny to Yahoo's security practices as the company tries to complete a deal to sell its core business to Verizon Communications Inc for $4.8 billion.

Australia Becomes First Country To Begin Microchipping Its Public

Australia may become the first country in the world to microchip its public. NBC news predicted that all Americans would be microchipped by 2017, but it seems Australia may have already beaten them to it.

Back in 2010, CBS news reported that the Australian government had a potential RFID microchipping plan in the works related to the health care system. 


Now, it seems that this plan is beginning to unfold but the push is not a result of mandated health care reforms, but rather a clever propaganda campaign that equates RFID microchipping with becoming superhuman, and people are begging for it.

Under the headline 'Australians embracing super-human microchip technology', Australia's premier media outlet (News Corp Australia) reports:
It may sound like sci-fi, but hundreds of Australians are turning themselves into super-humans who can unlock doors, turn on lights and log into computers with a wave of the hand.
Shanti Korporaal, from Sydney, is at the centre of the phenomenon after having two implants inserted under her skin.
Now she can get into work and her car without carrying a card or keys, and says her ultimate goal is to completely do away with her wallet and cards.
She told
You could set up your life so you never have to worry about any password or PINs it’s the same technology as Paypass, so I’m hoping you’ll be able to pay for things with it.

With Opal you get a unique identification number that could be programmed into the chip. Any door with a swipe card ... it could open your computer, photocopier. Loyalty cards for shops are just another thing for your wallet.
The microchips, which are the size of a grain of rice, can act like a business card and transfer contact details to smartphones, and hold complex medical data.

In her interview with the Australian news outlet, Shanti claims that her friends and family are envious of her microchip lifestyle;
My nana wants one. I’ve had more opposition to my tattoos than I’ve ever had to the chip. My friends are jealous.
In fact, the 27-year-old has noticed a business opportunity and set up a distribution service called Chip My Life with her husband, Skeeve Stevens where for just $80 to $140, people can become so called "super humans."

On the same day this news story broke, Shanti appeared at Austarlia's launch of the much anticipated cyborg themed video game Deus Ex Mankind Divided, alongside American implantable technology pioneer Amal Graafstra.

As you can see, the push for RFID microchipping and assimilating the human population with robots and technology, is something that will most likely be sold to the public as helping them to become "super human," but clearly if you become part machine/computer, that means there will be someone who can control that technology. If you think the elites wouldn't capitalize on such an exceptional opportunity to control the population you obviously don't know  history very well.

Amal Graafstra, who became one of the world first RFID implantees back in 2005, just made headlines recently in the US with a prototype of the world’s first implant-activated smart gun and is a huge proponent for this new technology.
He’s written a book, spoken at TEDx and also appeared in a number of documentaries.

In an interview with the Australian media outlet, Amal explained that the technology he has implanted into his body has “given me the ability to communicate with machines. It’s literally integrated into who I am.”

Shanti has bought into the culture that dominates society today, which is one dominated by the fantasy of super heroes that mesmerizes the population at theaters all across the globe.

“Ever since watching movies like the Terminator, Matrix and Minority Report I wondered if we could actually live like that. I always wondered why we all weren’t living as ‘super-humans’

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Wednesday 10-04-16

Subpoenas and Gag Orders Show Government Overreach, Tech Companies Argue

SAN FRANCISCO — It has been six months since the Justice Department backed off on demands that Apple help the F.B.I. break the security of a locked iPhone.
But the government has not given up the fight with the tech industry. Open Whisper Systems, a maker of a widely used encryption app called Signal, received a subpoena in the first half of the year for subscriber information and other details associated with two phone numbers that came up in a federal grand jury investigation in Virginia.
The subpoena arrived with a court order that said Open Whisper Systems was not allowed to tell anyone about the information request for one year.
Technology companies contend that court-imposed gag orders are being used too often by law enforcement and that they violate the Bill of Rights. The companies also complain that law enforcement officials are casting a wide net over online communications — often too wide — in their investigations.
Justice officials, for their part, argue that these gag orders are necessary to protect developing cases and to avoid tipping off potential targets. The officials say that they are simply following leads where they take them.
The information request made of Open Whisper Systems is particularly sensitive, since its encryption app is used around the world, and it is often recommended to journalists and human rights activists.
Microsoft sued the Justice Department over the gag order practice in April, arguing that law enforcement was relying on these orders too often. Specifically, the software giant said the gag orders violate the Fourth Amendment right of its customers to know if the government searches or seizes their property and also the company’s First Amendment right to speak to its customers.
Microsoft also complained that the orders often came without time limits, unlike the Open Whisper Systems order. Dozens of other technology, media and civil liberties groups filed briefs supporting Microsoft last month, and the case is pending.
Part of the gag order on Open Whisper Systems was lifted after a court challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union, and redacted versions of documents related to the information request were made public last week. But the small San Francisco company was still not allowed to tell specific account holders about the investigation.
The documents made public show that the government asked Open Whisper Systems to turn over data associated with two telephone numbers, including web browsing histories and data stored in the tracking “cookies” of the web browsers attached to those accounts. But one of Signal’s biggest draws is that it does not collect most of that information.
“The Signal service was designed to minimize the data we retain,” said Moxie Marlinspike, the founder of Open Whisper Systems. Mr. Marlinspike said Signal uses a technology called end-to-end encryption that kept the service from gaining access to the contents of its users’ messages. The company also does not store information on those with whom its users are communicating.
Civil liberties lawyers argue the Justice Department request fell well outside the bounds of what is typically covered by a subpoena, including basic subscriber information. Additional information, such as computer logs or content, would require a search warrant under the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
“The Justice Department is pushing the envelope,” said Jennifer Granick, director of civil liberties at the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society. Big companies like Apple and Microsoft have the wherewithal to push back, she said. But smaller companies may cave, rather than risk an expensive fight.
The Justice Department came to Open Whisper Systems with a menu of information needs, including subscriber details, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses and method of payment. The request went on to demand information on internet addresses, browsers and internet providers that the account holders could have used, according to court records.
One of the phone numbers the government was investigating was not a Signal user after all. For the other phone number, Open Whisper Systems turned over the only pieces of data it could: the time the user’s account had been created and the last time it had connected to the service — far less than the government sought.
In other circumstances, the government has tried to force companies via court order to re-engineer their services to collect missing pieces of information, as it did with Apple earlier this year and in a similar case in 2013 against Lavabit, a small encrypted messaging service used by the former defense contractor Edward J. Snowden.
The government did not make that request of Open Whisper Systems. “They need to pick those cases carefully,” Ms. Granick said. “They are only picking cases where they think they’re going to have the people on their side.”
The Justice Department and F.B.I. tried to force Apple to break its own software security in the case of an iPhone used by a gunman in last year’s San Bernardino terrorist attacks, she said.
Companies are having some success in getting courts to lift gag orders. Last year, Nicholas Merrill, the owner of a now-defunct internet service provider, got a gag order lifted, though it took more than a decade. After the court decision in Mr. Merrill’s case, a federal judge in the Eastern District of New York denied gag orders in more than a dozen cases related to Facebook subpoenas last May. And in June, Yahoo was successful in getting a court to lift gag orders on a number of law enforcement information requests.
“Gag orders should be used in exceptional cases,” said Brett M. Kaufman, the staff attorney with the A.C.L.U. who represented Open Whisper Systems. “This one demonstrates that the exception has become the rule in routine proceedings.”


BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation today is calling for a probe by the House Oversight Committee on an effort by the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to record license plate information on all cars belonging to gun show customers in Southern California, calling the project a “civil rights outrage.”
The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that federal agents apparently persuaded local police officers in 2010 to scan those license plates, ostensibly to detect possible gun smuggling. But SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb said the effort appears to have been “one more gun control affront launched during the Obama administration.”
“Attending a gun show is not a criminal activity,” Gottlieb observed. “American citizens engaged in a perfectly legal activity should not have to worry about the government monitoring their exercise of various civil rights, including freedom of association and the right to keep and bear arms.
“Instead of worrying about people attending gun shows,” he continued, “maybe the same attention could have been paid to criminals walking guns across the border under the Fast and Furious fiasco. Oh, wait, that was a debacle created by government agents, also during the Obama administration.
“Unless there is clear evidence of criminal activity,” Gottlieb stated, “it is none of the government’s business who comes and goes at a lawfully-operated gun show. This kind of snooping should require a court order, and unless some illegal activity was detected, all license plate information gathered during this effort should be destroyed, and Congress should determine how it may have been used, or misused.
“We think this revelation by the Wall Street Journal raises enough questions that the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform should launch an inquiry,” he said. “If this kind of monitoring dealt with any activity other than a gun show, you can bet the liberal media would be screaming. The Obama administration and its media cheerleaders should understand that gun owners have privacy rights, too.”

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Tuesday 10-04-16

Flash of the blinding obvious, hang in there Jerry and Ken.

But What Happens When There Are No Old Men?

From Instapundit:
Gangs of young men strutting and killing people is the default state for humanity. Civilization is what puts that under control. Until it doesn’t.
I was reminded, as I often am, by something I posted here many years ago -
I was reading an article the other day, in the local newspaper, about an elderly Korean gentleman who has moved into town and opened a martial arts studio. He chastened the reporter who had come to interview him not to suggest that the martial arts were 'all about fighting.' "No!" he said. "The purpose is social harmony."

That is exactly right. The secret of social harmony is simple: Old men must be dangerous.

Very nearly all the violence that plagues, rather than protects, society is the work of young males between the ages of fourteen and thirty. A substantial amount of the violence that protects rather than plagues society is performed by other members of the same group. The reasons for this predisposition are generally rooted in biology, which is to say that they are not going anywhere, in spite of the current fashion that suggests doping half the young with Ritalin.

The question is how to move these young men from the first group (violent and predatory) into the second (violent, but protective). This is to ask: what is the difference between a street gang and the Marine Corps, or a thug and a policeman? In every case, we see that the good youths are guided and disciplined by old men. This is half the answer to the problem.
But what happens when there aren't enough (or any) dangerous old men to guide the young ones?

Chicago. New Orleans.  Detroit.  St. Louis....

'Sixth sense does exist' scientists claim - but it's nothing to do with ghosts

Monday, October 3, 2016

Monday 10-03-16

Well getting ready to wrap up another year, we closed our vacation spot, hope we don't have to open it before next year, but you never know there is a lot going on, keep your eyes open and ear to the ground.

Society and superbugs: Losing ‘one of the most serious infections disease threats of our time’

Antibiotics have been battling bacteria and saving lives since the 1940's. Fast forward several decades, however, and the war is changing.
"Superbugs" are strains of bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics, and they have been gaining strength and shifting the tide in their favor.
"This is really a frightening situation," Dr. Beth Bell of the CDC told CNBC's "On The Money" in a recent interview, "and really one of the most serious infectious disease threats of our time. "
CDC data show superbugs cause infections in at least two million people in the U.S. each year, and kill 23,000. Barely a week ago, in a landmark meeting, the United Nations General Assembly voted to take a coordinated approach to antibiotic resistance as a global health crisis.
By 2050, superbugs could kill 10 million people, according to the Review of Antimicrobial Resistance.
Bell, who oversees the CDC's emerging infectious disease programs, told CNBC that "in other parts of world, there are bacteria that are resistant to all known antibiotics."
If current antibiotics become ineffective, doctors will be unable to stop infections, she added.
"Antibiotic resistance and the rise of superbugs really [do] put modern medicine at risk," Bell explained.
"If you think about some of the main advances in medicine over the last number of decades, for example, cancer chemotherapy, organ transplantation, joint replacements, the success of all these innovations is really based on our ability to treat infections," she added.

'Dangerous situation'

Superbugs and antibiotics
Superbugs and antibiotics   
The CDC says nearly one-third of all prescriptions for antibiotics are unneeded, or incorrectly prescribed by doctors, which is part of the problem. Bell told CNBC that "47 million unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions are given every year in the United States."
Antibiotic drugs that fight bacterial infections will not help viral infections like colds, flu bugs and bronchitis.
Meanwhile, most antibiotics are also used in animal agriculture to promote faster live stock growth—an overuse of antibiotics that Bell said is a "major driver" of drug resistance.
Scientists are looking for new drugs to treat evolving bacteria, but the last new class of antibiotics was discovered in the 1980's. While pharmaceutical companies led the development of new antibiotics decades ago, that has changed.
According to the National Institutes of Health, "of the 18 largest pharmaceutical companies, 15 have abandoned the antibiotic field due to economic and regulatory obstacles."
Meanwhile the war continues, as bacteria keeps evolving.
"Superbugs are always changing and the more they change and the more antibiotics we use, the more dangerous the situation is." warns Dr. Bell.