2018 off to a bad security/privacy start

If you thought 2017 was a bad year for privacy and security, well 2018 ain’t getting any better:

1. Another day, another Intel ME flaw (requires physical access though):

Researcher finds another security flaw in Intel management firmware [Updated] | Ars Technica

2. Expanded IC surveillance is about to be granted in the “Heimatland” (translation - Homeland; what is with this creepy PR term anyhow?):

House Fails to Protect Americans from Unconstitutional NSA Surveillance | Electronic Frontier Foundation

  • Endorses nearly all warrantless searches of databases containing Americans’ communications collected under Section 702.
  • Provides a narrow and seemingly useless warrant requirement that applies only for searches in some later-stage criminal investigations, a circumstance which the FBI itself has said almost never happens.
  • Allows for the restarting of “about” collection, an invasive type of surveillance that the NSA ended last year after being criticized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for privacy violations.
  • Sunsets in six years, delaying Congress’ best opportunity to debate the limits NSA surveillance.

Short version: still collect everything all the time, conveniently allow parallel construction by LE, and enable targeting of anyone you don’t like or who gets a bit uppity, since you have an electronic time-machine in the form of data centers.

3. Facial recognition goes fully retail:

Slate’s Use of Your Data

Short version: restaurants, pizza joints, Walmart et al. are now going to let the unthinking muppets (the same kind that use Apple Face ID and religiously use Facebook) to pay via confirmation of facial scans. Of course, you’ll also be scanned (and tagged) against your will, whether or not you like it, allowing for fine-grained tracking.

This is called surveillance creep folks. Given the hand-in-glove relationship between government and capitalists, you can be assured 100% that this will feed the surveillance matrix over time, because “national security” ™.

So, on top of stealing our browsing histories / communications, tracking financial purchases, mapping personal networks, calculating movements in vehicles, following GPS locations with smartphones etc, they now want to use our digital photos against our will, by leveraging the blanket camera networks that exist in the retail space with facial recognition?

Who thinks it’s reasonable that every time you gorge yourself on KFC or buy a six-pack of shitter rolls at the local mart, data bits get flipped in a data center somewhere, all because an algorithm identified you with 98.5% probability?

Somebody find me another planet to live on… :confused:

Good day,

It gets even better. This decision has once more showcased that the current President of the United States of America really does not care the slightest bit about anything, even his own (apparent) believes.

Why do I say this?

Well, in the congress there has been a small bipartisan group of lawmakers willing to at least include protection for US citizens. As a European, this wouldn’t change much for me, but it’d be a first step.

Now, Trumps white house gave out a press statement in which they stated their support for the continuation of this program as is in full.

Here is what they said:

The Administration strongly opposes the “USA Rights” amendment to the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act, which the House will consider tomorrow. This amendment would re-establish the walls between intelligence and law enforcement that our country knocked down following the attacks of 9/11 in order to increase information sharing and improve our national security. The Administration urges the House to reject this amendment and preserve the useful role FISA’s Section 702 authority plays in protecting American lives.

Source: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/statement-press-secretary-18/

That is thus also what most Republican lawmakers supported.

However, suddenly they had unexpected opposition, as Trump appeared to not only go against them, but actually even support the opposite of what his staffers said he’d support when tweeting:

“House votes on controversial FISA ACT today.” This is the act that may have been used, with the help of the discredited and phony Dossier, to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump Campaign by the previous administration and others?

So great, Trump seems to be against the FISA Act in its current form. Goes against what his literal Press Secretary states but if his personal beliefs weren’t communicated properly, that’s their problem.

Good thing is, we now knew the Presidents true position on this topic and seeing how he is both a “Master deal maker”, as well as the definition of a strategic genius who, as his supporters are quick to point out, does not fold under pressure and sticks to his principles, those fighting for a “straight continuation” of the program were now in hot water.

But then disaster struck, as someone apparently reminded him that he actually should hold another position (likely a staffer telling him that he’d undermine surveillance on US soil, something which mister “Cambridge Analytica” probably wouldn’t benefit from personally) which is why after two hours, he tweeted as if he’d always held the opposite position:

With that being said, I have personally directed the fix to the unmasking process since taking office and today’s vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land. We need it! Get smart!

So, do we need it, or not?


This may have been one of those things which create a thought loop in the Presidents mind.


Well, we do not need it and should abolish it because A.) Obama and B.) Trump was allegedly (though never proven) affected by it. But on the other hand, we need it and should “get smart” because C.) Trump benefited from surveillance during his run and D.) tracking does evil immigrants is much easier with it.

Non black and white issues result in cognitive dissonance and thus multiple non reconcilable opinions being held.

Good thing is though, we now know that the President may actually support abolishen of mass surveillance.
Bad thing is, we’d have to tie down his advisors so his opinion doesn’t change…

Also, a bit closer to home:

Our dear, new, Austrian government is full of people apparently “giddy” when thinking of the idea what surveillance powers they are now going to hold.

All intelligence services in Austria are now under the control of one party, the right-wing FPÖ, who’s members in the past have on multiple occasions publicly argued for mass-surveillance and against encryption.

The fact that they now argue for the pointless surveillance of WhatsApp, something which criminals could easily bypass by simply going to the next app, thus only harming law-abiding citizens, shouldn’t surprise anyone there.

Have a nice day,



But wait, there’s more…

Short: Everybody’s sleepwalking into a dystopian, minority-report future, without political discussion or your vote on the issue. :frowning:

Hows that faux democracy working for you? One wonders (hopes) if future generations will go on a surveillance camera rampage…

Artificial intelligence is going to supercharge surveillance - The Verge

But this is changing and fast. Artificial intelligence is giving surveillance cameras digital brains to match their eyes, letting them analyze live video with no humans necessary. This could be good news for public safety, helping police and first responders more easily spot crimes and accidents and have a range of scientific and industrial applications. But it also raises serious questions about the future of privacy and poses novel risks to social justice.

What happens when governments can track huge numbers of people using CCTV? When police can digitally tail you around a city just by uploading your mugshot into a database? Or when a biased algorithm is running on the cameras in your local mall, pinging the cops because it doesn’t like the look of a particular group of teens?


Even these pretty basic tools can have powerful effects at scale, however. China provides one example of what this can look like. Its western Xinjiang region, where dissent from the local Uighur ethnic group is being suppressed, has been described as “a laboratory for high-tech social controls,” in a recent Wall Street Journal report. In Xinjiang, traditional methods of surveillance and civil control are combined with facial recognition, license plate scanners, iris scanners, and ubiquitous CCTV to create a “total surveillance state” where individuals are tracked constantly in public spaces. In Moscow, a similar infrastructure is being assembled, with facial recognition software plugged into a centralized system of more than 100,000 high-resolution cameras which cover more than 90 percent of the city’s apartment entrances.

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Hello, i registred here just to answer your post about Moscow surveillance infrastructure, because this is my hometown =)

@@ In Moscow, a similar infrastructure is being assembled, with facial recognition software plugged into a centralized system of more than 100,000 high-resolution cameras which cover more than 90 percent of the city’s apartment entrances.@@

This infrastructure is already assembled and working since 2014. All surveillance cameras in Moscow subway (which is one of biggest in the world) and many of outside surveillance cameras have installed face-recognition algorhytm called FindFace. Using this algorhytm government bravely reported that they could catch like 6 or 7 outlaws, but who knows how much exactly. Cops on the subway entrances doesnt now look on the crowd, they look at their phones all the time…Conclusion is that there is an app for them, connected to cameras, so they can recieve a notification and pull a person off the crowd quickly.
FindFace was originally developed by brother of Pavel Durov, founder of russian “facebook” social network called Vkontakte. Pavel Durov also developed Telegram.

In 2014 they launched they FindFace website just like experiment so people can find friends Vkontakte ID using photograph. But now they moved to California and started a business there, offering these algorhytms for corporate business.
Check that out www.findface.pro/en/