Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Lights of the Internet are going out

Groklaw to the NSA: You're killing the Internet.  And so Groklaw is shutting down:
The owner of Lavabit tells us that he's stopped using email and if we knew what he knew, we'd stop too.

There is no way to do Groklaw without email. Therein lies the conundrum.

What to do?

What to do? I've spent the last couple of weeks trying to figure it out. And the conclusion I've reached is that there is no way to continue doing Groklaw, not long term, which is incredibly sad. But it's good to be realistic. And the simple truth is, no matter how good the motives might be for collecting and screening everything we say to one another, and no matter how "clean" we all are ourselves from the standpont of the screeners, I don't know how to function in such an atmosphere. I don't know how to do Groklaw like this.
The government is simply out of control - there's simply no other way to describe it.  The owner of Lavabit says that he may be jailed because he shut down his encrypted email service instead of playing stooge for The Man.  A journalist's partner was detained and almost arrested changing flights at Heathrow because the journalist broke the Edward Snowden NSA metadata story.  This has sparked a diplomatic incident as the man is a Brazilian citizen.

Of course, diplomatic incidents are collateral damage in this situation.  The Bolivian Presidential jet was forced down in Vienna, and was searched - in violation of Diplomatic Immunity - because Bolivia had offered Snowden asylum.

And UK Plods seized hard drives from computers at the UK's Guardian newspaper and had them destroyed.  Not because they had data from Mr. Snowden, but because they might have had data from Mr. Snowden.

And throughout the entire circus show, the Director of the NSA and the Director of National Intelligence have repeatedly and serially lied to Congress.

The TOR network for anonymous browsing seems to have been deeply compromised by the NSA.  TOR was probably the best way to send data securely - encrypted and with anonymity.  Was.

The lights are going out all over the Internet.  I fear that we shall not see them rekindled in our lifetimes.

When I was a lad there was a clear distinction between us and the Commies.  We knew that they hated freedom, or at least wanted to decide what people were free to do and what they weren't free to do.  In college, it was no secret about what the East German Stasi did, and how it made the entire country essentially into a nation of snitches.  Now NSA's Big Data has Stasified the Internet so we all snitch on ourselves.
But as the animals outside gazed at the scene, it seemed to them that some strange thing was happening. What was it that had altered in the faces of the pigs? Clover's old dim eyes itted from one face to another. Some of them had ve chins, some had four, some had three. But what was it that seemed to be melting and changing? Then, the applause having come to an end, the company took up their cards and continued the game that had been interrupted, and the animals crept silently away.

But they had not gone twenty yards when they stopped short. An uproar of voices was coming from the farmhouse. They rushed back and looked through the window again. Yes, a violent quarrel was in progress. There were shoutings, bangings on the table, sharp suspicious glances, furious denials. The source of the trouble appeared to be that Napoleon and Mr.  Pilkington had each played an ace of spades simultaneously.
Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question,now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

- George Orwell, Animal Farm


Opinionated Grump (Rich in NC) said...

... I know you aren't optimistic about this, but just before the Berlin Wall came down no one believed that it would.

Rich in NC

R.K. Brumbelow said...

Pam will be missed.

How do we fix this debacle? How do we build people, families, communities, town, counties, states and a nation that we can believe in? How do we keep the government from being able to ignore her own foundation (the Constitution) again?

It (the solution) has got to start small but grow big, big enough to inspire generations, wise enough to see the mistakes of the past.
Le rêve est mort, longue vie au rêve !

Borepatch said...

Rich, I wish I could be as optimistic as you. But the Eye of Sauron's power is waxing, not waning.

R.K. Brumbelow, I just don't know.

Anonymous said...

The internet really is just for porn and cat pictures, isn't it?

Alan said...

It will force communications underground. The future will be isolated darknets, aliases and ephemeral communications, nothing that stays persistent like email.

And Internet version of the Soviet era samizdat network.

Divemedic said...

We are seeing the final stages of the creation of the police state. One of the most important things that any resistance movement needs is the ability to communicate and organize. That is no longer possible, using the internet.

This Constitution of this nation has been systematically destroyed. We are seeing the end of the American experiment. The next few years will be exciting, as we are watching history: the most powerful nation ever to exist is transitioning from a republic into an empire.

Rev. Paul said...

+1 to Divemedic.

Eagle said...

+1 to Divemedic - me too.

Two words: ham radio.

Dave H said...

Two words: ham radio.

Well, radio. Hams are licensed, which means they're on the books.

I recommend Near Vertical Incidence Skywave (NVIS), a method of installing an antenna close to the ground and relying on reflections from the ionosphere overhead to bounce signals out. It's a lot harder to locate using direction finding equipment because most of your signal goes up instead of out. When used to send digital messages in very short bursts it's even harder to find.

There's also meteor burst, which is similar but it uses the ionized trails of meteors to reflect signals. It can have a longer range, but it may take many tries to get a message through because you need to wait for a micrometeorite to pass overhead to get a trail big enough to bounce a signal off of. I remember reading about the US Military experimenting with it back in the 1980s as a way for scouts and spies to send short messages back to base without giving away their position.

Borepatch said...

Dave H, I would *so* buy you a beer sometime. And why the heck aren't you blogging?


Dave H said...

BP, you may get that chance some time. I've been to Atlanta a number of times on business. (Georgia Power "been beddy beddy good to me" and my company.) I'll ping you if the opportunity comes up.

As for blogging, I did that for a while but I kind of ran out of topics.

Windy Wilson said...

Katerina Witt, the East German Olympic Gold Medalist figure skater had two perceptive things to say about the NSA spying in an article in August 17th New York Daily News.
1. Young people today give up a lot of privacy voluntarily with facebook and other programs.
2. She saw her Stasi file, and disagrees with the argument the argument that "'state surveillance shouldn't alarm law-abiding people,' she says 'people are naïve if they don't think storage of their email, telephone and other electronic records doesn't make them vulnerable.'

"You start to worry when it goes into the wrong hands and is used for the wrong reasons," she says, pointing out that some of the intelligence reports about her were totally inaccurate.