"Cowardly" Groklaw, Lavabit, and Silent Circle

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posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 01:02 PM
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Perhaps other members that are more computer literate them myself could help clarify some things I don't quite understand. As far as I can make it out, major providers of e-mail internet services such as Google have complied with giving access to the government / NSA of individuals personal information regardless of any warrant being issued on a person of interest, basically everyone's info is fair game in the name of "fighting terrorism".

Basically bypassing the need to get a warrant and confiscate a person's actual computer to get information , it is being done through a third party, the internet provider, do I have that right? So companies such as Lavabit come into being and provide a service that prevents this , either by not complying or some sort of technology that prevents their customers information from being accessed by a third party , namely the government / NSA......is that correct so far?

So is the reason for this "crack down" because people like Snowden and others that may have sensitive information, especially about government corruption had found a way to circumvent illegal access to their information? If Snowden took his computer with him, is the only way to now access it through Lavabit files? I know Levinson says he is not closing because of "one" person, but the timing makes one wonder?

Thanks in advance to anyone who can help shed more light on this for me, and I will refrain from further comment until I have a better understanding of the total implications of this.
edit on 20-8-2013 by MountainLaurel because: (no reason given)




posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 01:16 PM
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I worked the program in question for a few years.

The metadata is given to NSA without need of a warrant. Phone numbers, e-mail addresses, SMS, etc... but all without specific identifiers. To get actual content, you had to navigate some pretty (at the time) rigid procedures.

For example, I would do a data pull on a known terrorist cellphone number or SIM card. Using certain databases, I would begin my call chain analysis and try to find new connections and further enumerate the terror network to update targeting packages. If during my deepdive analysis I ran across a number that was associated with a US person, I would have to have a FISA judge approve a warrant for me to access actual call content, and I would have to provide adequate cause to obtain the warrant. Additionally, we were audited by our office/program manager every month and asked about every instance that we would query US-associated selectors.

That was how things worked in my office, and many of us there took great care to not overstep our bounds and not trounce upon the privacy of good people. However, I realize that not everyone took the same care and respect for others that me and most of my coworkers did.



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 01:19 PM
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As for Snowden, he had VAST amounts of access due to his job responsibilities as a system administrator. He worked across numerous programs at differing levels of security clearance, hence why he was allowed to have a thumbdrive and take it out of the building. As an analyst, I only had access to the databases and systems that was needed for me to perform the mission.



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 01:21 PM
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reply to post by MountainLaurel
 


The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.

I think you have a fairly good grasp. Companies like Lavabit exist due to the promise they make to their customers that Lavabit isn't going to share info. The feds come along and say virtually, "Yes you are going to share whatever info we want, and not only that, you're not going to tell anyone. Because, terrorists."

Lavabit and others go out of service rather than acquiesce to those demands. Others cave and don't let you know. Who do you trust? Rhetorical question. If you're here, the answer is: only those you know personally and have demonstrated their trustworthiness. For me, that's maybe a couple of dozen people.


As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 01:22 PM
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Originally posted by MountainLaurel
I know Levinson says he is not closing because of "one" person, but the timing makes one wonder?




I dont have any light to shed, except to recall that Levinson is not allowed to speak
about the details. He did however say this

"Our federal government has the power to take all of your money and your freedom, and they've shown no shame in using those powers to get what they want and to punish people who speak out against them."
www.huffingtonpost.com...

In light of that statement it does not appear that Snowden is the only person who presents
a problem for the machine. Funny that John Kerry just said

“ever since the end of the Cold War, forces have been unleashed that were tamped down for centuries by dictators, and that was complicated further by this little thing called the internet and the ability of people everywhere to communicate instantaneously
www.westernjournalism.com...

The real problem for the dictators is that people now have the ability to communicate instantaneously,
its hard to control people when they have real information, some of them pose the problem of
making up their own minds.
edit on 20-8-2013 by burntheships because: grammar



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 01:23 PM
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I think the point is missed .. and these companies are being attacked unfairly.

Essentially these companies are shutting down because they cannot guarantee the security of their customers anymore.. of course e-mail is naturally insecure if you're stupid, if you put identifying information in that message then it doesn't matter much once your message leaves the security of the lavabit/silent circle network... but that is absolutely not the point.

Lavabit was threatened with arrest, and if arrested their equipment could be seized.. if seized, the law enforcement could then potentially set up something to intercept or prevent those messages from being encrypted.. it would put their customers at risk.. a risk they were promised not to be put through.. so they voluntarily suspended and destroyed the data rather than put their clients at risk.. that is COMMENDABLE ..

Silent Circle saw this, realized they would be in the crosshairs next so they decided to shut down before they were even accused.. Groklaw got a big hint and realized their business RELIED on e-mail and it made no sense to put their clients at risk either.

Yeah you might look at this and call it cowardly, but I think I would be more angry if they just rolled over and put everyone at risk.. or worse, handed over data to protect their own butt.. Lavabit didn't do that, Silent Circle didn't do that and Groklaw didn't either..

If you want to hate one of these private e-mail services you should focus your aim on Hushmail who promises your data security yet routinely hands it over..

Again.. I commend these guys.. I've not used any of them, but I've always recognized their value and I think it's a great thing that they shut down with the purpose of protecting their users.. If they fought, they'd likely lose.. and their loss in that way would be far worse for their clients.

Any one of these guys refused, they'd have their stuff quietly raided and tapped.. sucking all the e-mail into their massive database before putting out a press release that the owners were arrested in some terror plot =)
edit on 8/20/2013 by miniatus because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 01:24 PM
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Originally posted by grey580

Originally posted by juleol
reply to post by grey580
 

Or you do like Groklaw and just shutdown the entire business.. I personally respect that better than them handing over information while lying about it like Microsoft and Google is doing now.


I don't know man.
Lavabit and Groklaw might be in different situations. I don't know.

Personally. If you feel that passionate about something. You shouldn't go away. You should raise awareness.

I agree as that is what I would do myself as well. But at the same time i can understand why they did this.



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 01:32 PM
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Originally posted by MountainLaurel
Perhaps other members that are more computer literate them myself could help clarify some things I don't quite understand. As far as I can make it out, major providers of e-mail internet services such as Google have complied with giving access to the government / NSA of individuals personal information regardless of any warrant being issued on a person of interest, basically everyone's info is fair game in the name of "fighting terrorism".

Basically bypassing the need to get a warrant and confiscate a person's actual computer to get information , it is being done through a third party, the internet provider, do I have that right? So companies such as Lavabit come into being and provide a service that prevents this , either by not complying or some sort of technology that prevents their customers information from being accessed by a third party , namely the government / NSA......is that correct so far?

So is the reason for this "crack down" because people like Snowden and others that may have sensitive information, especially about government corruption had found a way to circumvent illegal access to their information? If Snowden took his computer with him, is the only way to now access it through Lavabit files? I know Levinson says he is not closing because of "one" person, but the timing makes one wonder?

Thanks in advance to anyone who can help shed more light on this for me, and I will refrain from further comment until I have a better understanding of the total implications of this.
edit on 20-8-2013 by MountainLaurel because: (no reason given)


Here's the bigger thing.. Google doesn't necessarily have to comply to get large chunks of it because the internet is powered the six major Tier 1 providers which the NSA has contracted with ( at least in a few cases I read about ) to put servers in place to monitor all traffic passively, that means as you flow to google through AT&T they can be sucking up the data.. they may not get everything though because you might also hit a server that goes through Level 3 communications or one of the other six .. so it all depends... However, yes Google has complied a lot.. but not always.. and folks like AT&T I wouldn't trust to ever say "no"...

Everything on the internet passes through one of these six Tier 1 companies.. ( there are three main tiers, then everything else branches off of the third tier )

But you see the value of getting in bed with those Tier 1 providers.. all funneling metadata into one repository where they can compile it from all the pieces and if they need something they don't have, they can then request it...
edit on 8/20/2013 by miniatus because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 01:35 PM
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I can understand the lavabit decision. It's pretty obvious they were served with some type of secret demand, and then threatened. It's pretty clear as well as the public decision to pull the plug probably earned some threats from the .gov as well. I imagine it was a hard decision for the head of lavabit, and given the apathy of the American public at large I really don't blame him for his decision. Why risk your wealth, freedom and whole future for a public that largely does not care that "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures," has been systemically violated by their government?

Silent circle, I can also understand because they definitely see the writing on the wall and I imagine figured that they would eventually be put in a position on whether to make the same decision.

I do wish that one of these organizations would have taken a principled stand, whatever the consequences, but they didn't and that is their decision. I'm not sure I could have taken such a principled stand myself were I in their shoes given my family responsibilities. Also, I hear almost as many people saying "those with nothing to hide, have nothing to worry about" as I do sentiment that echoes what I hear from folks that agree with me like most of the membership here. But, more common than either sentiment even combined, i hear---nothing, crickets, and as long as that is the case the no longer slow march to tyranny will continue.

I also understand the decision by the Groklaw operator but much less so. Here you have someone with a legal background, with lots of connections to those who could provide a precedent setting legal counsel, and then gives up before even being challenged.

As long as we've talked about the coming Police State on sites like ATS, it's incredibly surreal to wake up one day (not today, but not to long ago) and realize it's no longer on the horizon it's here.



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 01:38 PM
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reply to post by miniatus
 


That is almost exactly the same points I was making on page 1. I think you and I think similarly about this miniatus. As I said I think it is the actions of the US Govt which are cowardly not the other way around. The owners of these businesses are doing what smart people who run businesses do. They know when it is time to pull the plug. They know the deck is stacked against them.



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 01:40 PM
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reply to post by Dreine
 


Wait a sec.
Are you for real?
You used to work for the NSA using PRISM?



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 01:49 PM
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We didn't call it that.

I was what is called a DNI Analyst... Digital Network Intelligence. I would use numerous databases containing e-mails, telephony data, SMS (text), social networks, and other types of INT's... ELINT, FISINT, etc... to fuse together information on terrorists, pirates, foreign intelligence networks, and things like that. I would spend hours each day reading reports from across the Intel community and adding my work to the mix.

We knew that our own systems... DNS servers, proxies, e-mail providers, ISP's, etc,... were being used by our adversaries against us because of our privacy laws. Makes perfect sense. And like I said, unless I had a VERY good reason to continue my research/analysis, if I ran across anything that seemed likely to be a US citizen, I had to immediately stop my work and document it. The only exception to that was if we ran across information of possible imminent danger to life and limb or actual criminal activity, like child abuse or human trafficking and such.



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 02:06 PM
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Originally posted by Strewth


Well, being the boss man, surely you can consider the possibility of departing from your rules and getting a petition together.

Between your ATS, Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as those of your membership it is time to say enough is enough.

It is our fight.

United we can send a clear message that the real enemy IS the US government (or specific controlling elements within).

Time to Break Bad Bro.

Because I for one am sick of this snip...........if not now, when?

If not us, who?


reminds me of




If you've got more to give then you've got to prove Put your hands up and I'll copy you


ATS should be on the forefront of this, clearly the GOV already has all our IP's, we are already on the "LIST" so at this point what is left.

ATS seems like the perfect place, to start something, yet it only seems to act like a blow valve that lets us vent and do nothing, while feeling like we did. Even if its as simple as a petition for privacy and re-affirming the commitment to the 4th amendment.

Liberty is one of the few things worth fighting for.
edit on 20-8-2013 by benrl because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 02:11 PM
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reply to post by Dreine
 


Mind blown
boom



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 02:14 PM
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reply to post by grey580
 


Not everyone that works at the agencies are bad people... the problem is that a lot of the people in charge ARE. And if you stand up against it, you find that you'll probably be looking for a new career very soon.

The only thing holding everything from crashing down is the good and honest men and women who are still fighting the good fight, but every day more and more of them leave for various reasons.



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 02:39 PM
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Originally posted by havok
At what point do the people who don't frequent this site, or similar, realize what's happening? Because apparently it's not important enough to stop what they are doing and throw a stone in the cogs. We conspiracy theorists have been right about alot of things and thank God people are paying attention.

Finally our voices will be heard and not ignored (like Dr. Paul has been).
All too funny to say "I told you so".
But we say it to ourselves.
Outsiders rarely listen to anything but what the TV tells them.
Let's hope they start to get the picture.

I fear our voices are getting tired, and maybe that's the object of this game.
The gov't is so relentless and powerful that they just sit back and wait until we die down again.
Like a lion stalking it's wounded prey. Once we lay down, it pounces.
Then the death blow.

99.9% of the people don't realize that without We the people, this gov't is NOTHING.
We feed them, we cloth them.
We support their companies and pay their wages.
We protect them and we provide for them.
We administer their health care and services.
If we decide to shut them down, WE have the power to do so.



The question remains...
When are WE going to do something about it?


Excellent topic, Bill.



edit on 20-8-2013 by havok because: ugh spelling


First of all we the people no longer support the US government monetarily because of the debt that allows them to operate without constraint! Though we do give them power but when one considers the size of the US government and those dependent on them which is about 30% of the US workforce and over 50% of the population is dependent on them in some way! So I doubt very much that Americans will want to give up on
their healthcare, food stamps, government housing and whatever other benefits that are enslaving our society!
The rest of us are totally fed up but feel powerless to create any real change! On top of all this there is the
disease of apathy with that why not let someone else do something! This is the same reason why most people
will not stop when they are driving by a breakdown or why when someone gets sick on the street in NYC people walk by without a second look! Till this attitude changes what will be will be what ever uncle Sam says!
I am sorry to look at things so hopelessly but till our attitudes change and we start cooperating with each other
like we did once long ago we will forever be enslaved by our poor social values!



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 02:48 PM
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reply to post by Dreine
 


That there is exactly what happened to Sibel Edmonds.
She blew the whistle and got shut out.
Dam shame.



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 02:59 PM
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reply to post by SkepticOverlord
 


Well Mr Overlord

How can we as avid members of this forum help? especially in keeping this site above water during all this? I am sure it wont be too long before they coming looking to shut us down.

I hope im wrong.



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 03:05 PM
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Originally posted by Dreine
reply to post by grey580
 


Not everyone that works at the agencies are bad people... the problem is that a lot of the people in charge ARE. And if you stand up against it, you find that you'll probably be looking for a new career very soon.

The only thing holding everything from crashing down is the good and honest men and women who are still fighting the good fight, but every day more and more of them leave for various reasons.


You say they are not bad people...You say they are fighting the good fight.

Yet, on a daily basis they are violating all of our rights and they know it.

For what?...A paycheck? These people are a disgrace. The are willingly compliant.

I hope they will all be looking for a new career soon.

*No offense personally. Thanks for speaking out. This entire matter needs sunshine.



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 03:35 PM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord

WE MUST toss aside the petty partisan wars that are merely a tactic in the grand Con Job being perpetuated on the [..] world. There are no more liberals, there are no more conservatives, there are no more libertarians, and there are no more socialists. There are only those who are classified as potential enemies by the [..] Governments -- all of us.



Mmhmm. Good luck with that.






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