The government's approach to technological surveillance is leading us down a dark path, experts warn, as it prepares to give law enforcement agencies new hacking powers.
Currently before parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee, the Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill 2020 is the government's latest attempt to gain a watchful eye over cyber space.
Once the bill passes, it will dish out extra power to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), giving the agencies access to new warrants that will let them modify and delete data, collect intelligence from online communities, and even take over the online accounts of supposed criminals.
misc-stuff.terraaeon.com/articles/computer-i-own.html, posted Mar '21 by peter in crapification opensource opinion privacy
Instead, I have a computer that is designed largely to maximize the profits of the computer industry. Except for a handful of very over-priced models that I can't afford to buy, our computers are increasingly designed to be little more than advertising platforms and vehicles for maximizing the cloud revenues of their true owners: online data gatherers, advertisers, and cloud companies. Our computers have numerous hardware and software back doors that are designed to allow governments and corporations to spy on and track us around the Internet.
You are being watched. Private and state-sponsored organizations are monitoring and recording your online activities. privacytools.io provides services, tools and knowledge to protect your privacy against global mass surveillance.
WhatsApp, which is used by 1.5bn people worldwide, discovered in early May that attackers were able to install surveillance software on to both iPhones and Android phones by ringing up targets using the app’s phone call function.
The malicious code, developed by the secretive Israeli company NSO Group, could be transmitted even if users did not answer their phones, and the calls often disappeared from call logs, said the spyware dealer, who was recently briefed on the WhatsApp hack.
NSO’s flagship product is Pegasus, a program that can turn on a phone’s microphone and camera, trawl through emails and messages and collect location data.
NSO advertises its products to Middle Eastern and Western intelligence agencies, and says Pegasus is intended for governments to fight terrorism and crime.
But mostly to spy on people said governments don't particularly like, of course.
Top10VPN, for example, recently took a closer look at 150 VPN apps being offered in the Android marketplace and found that 90% of them violated consumer privacy in some fashion, either by the inclusion of DNS leaks, a failure to adequately secure and store user data, or by embedding malware:
"Simon Migliano, the head of this research, reports that at over 38 VPN apps tested positive for DNS leaks, exposing private data to hundreds of insecure links. Also, over 27 VPN apps were flagged as potential sources of malware when tested by VirusTotal.
Apart from this, the research also found intrusive permissions in over 99 apps. These permissions included user location, device information, use of the microphone, camera access and more."
https://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/01/27/nsa_loves_it_when_you_use_pgp/, posted 2018 by peter in communication email privacy security
"To be honest, the spooks love PGP," Nicholas Weaver, a researcher at the International Computer Science Institute, told the Usenix Enigma conference in San Francisco on Wednesdy. "It's really chatty and it gives them a lot of metadata and communication records. PGP is the NSA's friend."
Uninstall tracking exploits a core element of Apple Inc.’s and Google’s mobile operating systems: push notifications. Developers have always been able to use so-called silent push notifications to ping installed apps at regular intervals without alerting the user—to refresh an inbox or social media feed while the app is running in the background, for example. But if the app doesn’t ping the developer back, the app is logged as uninstalled, and the uninstall tracking tools add those changes to the file associated with the given mobile device’s unique advertising ID, details that make it easy to identify just who’s holding the phone and advertise the app to them wherever they go.
The tools violate Apple and Google policies against using silent push notifications to build advertising audiences, says Alex Austin, CEO of Branch Metrics Inc., which makes software for developers but chose not to create an uninstall tracker. “It’s just generally sketchy to track people around the internet after they’ve opted out of using your product,” he says, adding that he expects Apple and Google to crack down on the practice soon. Apple and Google didn’t respond to requests for comment.
When you purchase your system with a mainboard and Intel x86 CPU, you are also buying this hardware add-on: an extra computer that controls the main CPU. This extra computer runs completely out-of-band with the main x86 CPU meaning that it can function totally independently even when your main CPU is in a low power state like S3 (suspend).
But federal authorities recently screwed up and revealed the secret themselves when they published a cache of case documents but failed to redact one identifying piece of information about the target: his email address, Ed_Snowden@lavabit.com. With that, the very authorities holding the threat of jail time over Levison’s head if he said anything have confirmed what everyone had long ago presumed: that the target account was Snowden’s.
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