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Posts Tagged ‘social networks’

Assange to RT: Entire nations intercepted online, key turned to totalitarian rule

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 3, 2012

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says all the necessary physical infrastructure for absolute totalitarianism through the internet is ready. He told RT that the question now is whether the turnkey process that already started will go all the way.

RT: So you’ve written this book ‘Cypherpunks. Freedom and the Future of the Internet’ based on one of the programs that you’ve made for RT. In it, you say that the internet can enslave us. I don’t really get that, because the internet it’s a thing, it’s a soulless thing. Who are the actual enslavers behind it?

Julian Assange: The people who control the interception of the internet and, to some degree also, physically control the big data warehouses and the international fiber-optic lines. We all think of the internet as some kind of Platonic Realm where we can throw out ideas and communications and web pages and books and they exist somewhere out there. Actually, they exist on web servers in New York or Nairobi or Beijing, and information comes to us through satellite connections or through fiber-optic cables.

So whoever physically controls this controls the realm of our ideas and communications. And whoever is able to sit on those communications channels, can intercept entire nations, and that’s the new game in town, as far as state spying is concerned – intercepting entire nations, not individuals.

‘intercepting entire nations, not individuals’ Read the rest of this entry »

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Google takes action to support open Internet

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 23, 2012

An upcoming UN-organized conference on global communications aims to hammer out a treaty to safeguard “the free flow of information around the world.” Google is fighting back, saying the treaty threatens the “free and open Internet.”

Representatives from UN member-states will gather in Dubai from December 3 through 14 with the explicit aim of working out a new universal information and communication treaty that would regulate the Internet.

The conference, organized by the UN’s International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) has reignited a fierce debate over who should control the Web.

Google has remained unequivocal in its stance that the closed-door meeting a power grab aimed at ending public control of the Internet and strangling free speech:

“A free and open world depends on a free and open Internet. Governments alone, working behind closed doors, should not direct its future. The billions of people around the globe who use the Internet should have a voice,” Google said on its ‘Take Action’ advocacy website.

Google, which has consistently taken a self-regulatory approach to the Internet, called the Dubai conference the“wrong place” to make decisions on the future of the Internet.

The Internet giant argued that the 42 countries set to decide the future of the Net have already moved to censor it, and that the number of regulations is only growing. Read the rest of this entry »

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US could put Assange to death if it gets him – former senior NSA official

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 10, 2012

If America gets its hands on the WikiLeaks founder, they may go as far as execute him, a known National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Andrews Drake told RT, adding that in the US, security has become a state religion.

An expert on electronic eavesdropping, Drake sacrificed his career to blow the whistle on perceived wrongdoings within the NSA. He was charged under the Espionage Act, though the charges were dropped only last year.

He told RT that in America’s ‘soft tyranny’, everyone is subject or suspect in terms of surveillance.

RT: What was the potential harm of the program that you challenged while working with the NSA?

Thomas Drake: There was a very large flagship program called Trailblazer that was designed to catapult the NSA into the twenty first century to deal with the vast amounts of data generated by the digital age. Given the massive fraud and abuse that the NSA had created with the Trailblazer program, as well as the super secret surveillance program, the NSA completely violated the Constitution and the Fourth Amendment. In particular, the stature called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which was the first commandment at the NSA: you did violate Americans’ privacy without a warning, and if you did – there is a criminal penalty for doing so. And I found this out to my horror and shock, that shortly after 9/11, the NSA entered a secret agreement with the White House in which the NSA would become the executive agent for this secret surveillance program. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Stalin was like Facebook’: Viral ad sparks controversy

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 3, 2012

Poster inscription reads: "Stalin was like Twitter: he kept it brief." The image is part of a graduate project, commemorating victims of Stalinist repressions. Artwork by Nox-13

Poster inscription reads: “Stalin was like Twitter: he kept it brief.” The image is part of a graduate project, commemorating victims of Stalinist repressions. Artwork by Nox-13

“Stalin was like Facebook: he always wanted you to share information.” That is just one of the controversial posters aimed at showing the Internet generation the horrors of Stalin’s regime. Others compare him to Twitter and YouTube.

The posters, which were created for the Victims of Illegal Political Repressions Organization, use contemporary social platforms to illustrate to younger generations how much they have, and translate the awful reality of Soviet political repressions into a language they understand and can relate to.

The posters draw parallels between popular social networks and typical repressions of Stalinist times, and all provide historical details on this very dark period in Soviet history.

The Facebook poster describes how thousands of people regularly snitched on their neighbors, friends and relatives, filing reports with the NKVD or Secret Police. In the two years of the worst oppressions, from 1937 to 1938, the NKVD was flooded with so many reports, they physically couldn’t handle them.

A similar poster comparing the Soviet dictator to YouTube plays on the Russian words for “upload” and “send”, saying that Stalin let people get picked up and sent off. During the period of the Great Purge, known as Yezhovshchina in Russia (after the head of the Secret Police, Nikolay Yezhov), millions were sent off to labor camps and left to rot in Siberia. Their families were evaluated, and if deemed ‘capable of anti-Soviet actions’, they too were packed off to the camps, travelling for months in freight trains, like cattle.

The project started as a graduation work for communications studies student Ilya Tekhlikidi, who chose the Victims of Illegal Political Repressions Organization because of his own family history. His great-grandfather was executed by firing squad in 1937, and his great-grandmother and her children survived three labor camps. Read the rest of this entry »

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Assange rejects police request to surrender

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 29, 2012

ALSO O

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has said that he rejects the British police’s request to hand himself in and will remain in the Ecuadorean embassy and continue his appeal for asylum on grounds of political persecution.

Earlier on Thursday, police issued an order for Assange to appear at a police station to begin the extradition process.

The letter from the Metropolitan Police sent to the Ecuadorian Embassy said it “requires him to attend a police station at a date and time of our choosing. This is standard practice in extradition cases and is the first step in the removal process.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Social downer: Anonymous crash Facebook, lock out thousands

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 2, 2012

Screenshot of Twitter user @YourAnonOps

Screenshot of Twitter user @YourAnonOps

An attack orchestrated by the infamous hacktivist group Anonymous forced Facebook offline, with many of its 900 million users unable to log onto the social network for hours.

Anonymous took to Twitter, using their @YourAnonNews handle to say “looks like good old Facebook is having packet problems,” and sprinkled it with some no-nonsense hashtags like #FuckFacebook and #FuckYourIPO.

They followed with “RIP Facebook a new sound of tango down bitches”, which resulted in “RIP Facebook” trending on Twitter both in the United States and worldwide.

Facebook admitted they experienced problems in a statement.

“Earlier today, some users briefly experienced issues loading the site. The issues have since been resolved and everyone should now have access to Facebook. We apologize for any inconvenience,” the company’s announcement said.

Facebook did not deny Anonymous’ claims that they were behind the network problems.

Anonymous usually times its attacks for Fridays, but has previously focused mainly on law enforcement-alphabet agencies like the FBI, CIA and DHS. This is the first time the hacktivist group has targeted the world’s most popular social network.

The attack added insult to Facebook’s IPO injuries, with share prices falling 22 per cent since going public two weeks ago. Mark Zuckerberg’s company, along with the banks that led the float, is also the subject of two shareholder lawsuits. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ex-spy chief sees need for bugging Facebook and Twitter

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 25, 2012

UK's former spy chief says the authorities need to be able to gain access to private accounts

UK’s former spy chief says the authorities need to be able to gain access to private accounts

Snooping powers of the UK Government should be widened to cover social media sites. The former head of the UK’s intelligence gathering centre GCHQ, Sir David Ormand has put forward the suggestion.

Websites like Twitter and Facebook are being used by criminals, terrorists and pedophiles as a “secret space” in which to communicate, according to Sir David.

He added that those responsible for protecting society need to use up-to-date technology to keep suspects under surveillance.

However, the former Intelligence officer stressed individual accounts should only be ‘hacked’ under special circumstances. Read the rest of this entry »

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Brits to pay $3 bln to be spied upon on web, emails, texts

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 3, 2012

Police to gain access to who you call, what sites you surf and how you play video games.

Police to gain access to who you call, what sites you surf and how you play video games.

UK taxpayers will have to pay billions of dollars to have their web surfing, email exchange, text messaging, and even Skype calls, monitored. In addition to the hefty price-tag, innocent Brits risk being misidentified as terrorists.

The shocking data comes ahead of the plan announcement in the Queen’s speech, which is scheduled for May. Meanwhile, the Home Office, Britain’s interior ministry, said ministers were preparing to legislate “as soon as parliamentary time allows”.

More than $3 billion over the first decade alone is the extraordinary sum the British taxpayer will have to pay to be legally spied upon, reports the Daily Mail. In addition, annual running costs of roughly $320 million – $610 a minute – to store the data gathered from private communication.

Moreover, the above figures are based on 2009 estimates, which means the actual price, if it were estimated now, would be higher still.

British security agencies are pushing for a law, which would allow police to gain access to who you call, what sites you surf and how you play video games. Read the rest of this entry »

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Google to track users… like never before!

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 25, 2012

Google to track users... like never before!

In a move that has triggered outrage, Google has announced plans to bring all data collected from users’ separate accounts on its sites into a combined profile. Besides raising dubious questions about privacy, this offer is one you… cannot refuse.

The changes will take effect on March 1. Before that date, Google will notify its hundreds of millions of users about the new rules of the game. In preparation, the company is boosting its privacy policy and terms of service. Users will have to decide whether to agree with the new terms – or lose access to some of their favorite sites. There is no way of opting out of the changes.

Some say Google’s privacy announcement is frustrating and a little frightening.”Even if the company believes that tracking users across all platforms improves their services, consumers should still have the option to opt out,” said Common Sense Media chief executive James Steyer, as cited by the Washington Post.

Google says the new policy reflects a “desire to create a simple product experience” that does what one needs, when one needs it. The changes, apparently, will also allow Google to offer more new services and other “cool things.”

Google is consolidating more than 60 separate legal notes into a single main Privacy Policy, which will make it easier for consumers to comprehend – or, at least, read – the terms of service in full.

But these changes come with an unprecedented boost to Google’s right to collect and combine your personal data in ways you could never have imagined when you were registering for Gmail or Picasa. Read the rest of this entry »

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Anonymous ‘threatens’ to take down Facebook in Operation Global Blackout (VIDEO)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 23, 2012

Following a massive attack waged Thursday on several government and entertainment industry websites, hacktivists with Anonymous continued their assault over the weekend, momentarily taking CBS.com offline.

The next target very well might be Facebook.

The shut-down of the file sharing site Megaupload last week prompted thousands of users to participate in an Anonymous-led attack on opponents of the service, which left the websites for the FBI, Department of Justice, Motion Picture Association of America and Universal Music Group, among others, momentarily crippled.

The move, believed to be the largest Anonymous-led online initiative in the group’s history, was continued during the weekend when operatives participating managed to divert all traffic away from CBS.com. For around 20 minutes, the television network’s main site was unavailable on the Web to surfers across the world. Additionally, a second assault on Universal Music Group, or UMG, was waged and once again rendered the site unavailable. Universal is the largest record label in America and already revealed itself as an opponent to Megaupload before last week’s raid.

Sunday’s take-down of CBS.com and UMG was also accompanied by similar initiatives on foreign websites linked to anti-copyright legislation, including Polish and French government sites. According to some alleged Anonymous members, however, the bombardment doesn’t stop just there. In a new video uploaded to YouTube on Monday, a person claiming to work under the guise of Anonymous announces plans to take on the social networking giant Facebook in the coming days. Read the rest of this entry »

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Homeland Security monitors journalists

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 8, 2012

US Dept. of Homeland Security.

Freedom of speech might allow journalists to get away with a lot in America, but the Department of Homeland Security is on the ready to make sure that the government is keeping dibs on who is saying what.

Under the National Operations Center (NOC)’s Media Monitoring Initiative that came out of DHS headquarters in November, Washington has the written permission to retain data on users of social media and online networking platforms.

Specifically, the DHS announced the NCO and its Office of Operations Coordination and Planning (OPS) can collect personal information from news anchors, journalists, reporters or anyone who may use “traditional and/or social media in real time to keep their audience situationally aware and informed.”

According to the Department of Homeland Security’s own definition of personal identifiable information, or PII, such data could consist of any intellect “that permits the identity of an individual to be directly or indirectly inferred, including any information which is linked or linkable to that individual.” Previously established guidelines within the administration say that data could only be collected under authorization set forth by written code, but the new provisions in the NOC’s write-up means that any reporter, whether someone along the lines of Walter Cronkite or a budding blogger, can be victimized by the agency. Read the rest of this entry »

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Could What Happened to MySpace Happen to Facebook?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 16, 2011

By 

Ben Bajarin is the Director of Consumer Technology Analysis and Research at Creative Strategies, Inc, a technology

DAVID PAUL MORRIS / GETTY IMAGES

industry analysis and market intelligence firm located in Silicon Valley.

Social networks have been in the news lately. Last month MySpace was sold and we learned that Justin Timberlake and his partners have decided to try and help it be successful again.

(MORE: Myspace Sold for $35 Million with ‘Significant Reduction’ of Staff Imminent)

Google has just launched a new service called Google+ that has the blogosphere asking if it is a Facebook killer. So the question I want to explore is whether or not what happened to MySpace could happen to Facebook?

Facebook Learned from MySpace’s Errors

MySpace fell from grace for several reasons. First, they sacrificed the service’s integrity in pursuit of monetization. For those who remember, the user experience declined drastically once the service hit a critical mass.

We were bombarded by ads—highly irrelevant ones and many of a sexual nature (at least mine were). There came a point in time where I literally said to myself that the service had become unusable. I heard the same from a plethora as others as well. The turning point was when they lost control to the advertisers. Their monetization strategy was poor and because of that the site went downhill.

The second reason was because they failed to innovate in order to meet the needs of their users. In short, MySpace ran out of ideas. The site started with the humble idea of giving people their own spaces on the web but never evolved it into much more.

Facebook, on the other hand, has taken a different approach. They have not only been innovating and evolving the service to meet the needs of their users, but they have also been employing a business model that actually works for the service and is valuable to people. This model includes the subtle yet relevant placing of ads. Read the rest of this entry »

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