A former British spy is warning about the dangers of techniques used by intelligence agencies falling into the hands of organized crime or other nefarious groups. These procedures used to spy or otherwise gather personal information is controversial enough when its used by the government, but what if criminals obtain them? Andrew France was the deputy director of the UK’s version of the NSA called the GCHQ. He is now the chief executive of security startup Darktrace. He recently spoke at RSA in San Francisco, the annual conference that is the world’s largest cyber security gathering. He stated that it was a big worry that the techniques will spread to hackers and other criminals.
This is a very real concern, For instance, it was recently revealed that GCHQ has been intercepting webcam streams from Yahoo and that they even considered spying on people using Microsoft Kinect. In the UK alone 1.8 million users were spied on, in the program known as Optic Nerve. It was also reported that up to 11 percent of intercepted videos involved nudity or sexual content. A criminal could use the same abilities to facilitate identity theft or even blackmail, depending on the salaciousness of the webcam video. That doesn’t even get into the issues of these pictures being on a government server somewhere that could also be hacked.
Stuxnet is a major virus, supposedly created as a joint project by the governments of the United States and Israel. Its purpose was to deal a blow to the Iranian nuclear program and it did so by altering the activity of centrifuges in Iranian facilities. However, the virus then was released into the “wild” and has caused unintentional damage. Eugene Kaspersky, head of the Kaspersky anti-virus and cyber protection firm, has recently stated that the virus managed to infect a Russian nuclear facility and even the International Space Station. In the case of the ISS, a Russian Cosmonaut carried a flash drive onto the space station that had been infected with the virus. Kaspersky stated that he had been told the station faces “virus epidemics” from time to time.
The infections show the damage that can be caused by viruses such as Stuxnet when combined with human interaction. Both the nuclear facility and the ISS are closed systems, meaning that the “public” Internet cannot be accessed. So, the only way the virus was introduced into either installation was through an infected medium, such as the flash drive carried onboard the ISS. Ultimately, Kaspersky warned that viruses like Stuxnet cannot be controlled.
“There are no borders” in cyberspace, and no one should be surprised at any reports of a virus attack, no matter how ostensibly secure the facility, he said.
News articles are surfacing that Google, in partnership with NASA, has acquired a new super computer from D-Wave, a Canadian based company.
Its called a quantum computer with specs only a geek might understand. But I think anyone with brain cells should be able to understand the significance of it.
*Google is the front end to the NSA spying network. (and also involved with Obama’s campaign efforts) Why would a publicly held company Google team up with a government agency (NASA) and buy a quantum computer? Quantum computers have self-learning potential and become smarter using quantum algorithms, which run faster than any possible probabilistic classical algorithm. The end result is humans will no longer be needed to capture data OR analyze it. Quantum computers can do all this on their own.
Maybe its a marriage of fate? Artificial intelligence is the goal and destination.
*This can eliminate the pesky problem government faces with whistle blowers (I.E. Edward Snowden et al, those before him). The government now has a much more efficient way of keeping their massive data collection hidden from the general public and also the organizations whose job is to ensure the government does not break any constitutional laws.
Second, a piece from CNN talking about D-Wave NASA connection
Even CNN reported on it. Of course,they lightly touch on the many concerns about privacy and pretty much ignore the cozy relationship with NSA. This is CNN interviewing an expert about the quantum purchase related to the Google/NASA partnership.
It wasn’t until the end when they finally considered privacy concerns, as sort of an afterthought, that the analyst described the use and was compelled to say “hopefully, Google will use it as a force for good”. Ah, now that’s a relief. And if not?… Remind me to check back with these bright analysts.
By the way, these pictures of rocks on Mars may be really neat, but there is plenty more they can do with quantum capabilities than space travel and taking pictures.
The type of computing it does especially pertains to the security area of data collecting and breaking communications. The ultimate goal of simulated or artificial intelligence. Of course, the analyst hopes they use its capabilities for good. But maybe we have to reexamine the term “good” too, like everything else they do. As I read the information to date, it will be growing exponentially in capacity over the next few years.
So where is this tin foil-plagued administration?
Last year Obama rolled out a big data initiative. With the enormous collection of data they now do, analysis of that data is a challenge. Enter the need for super computers and storage to feed their insatiable appetite to know as much as they can in real-time about Americans. (now that the genie is out of the bottle)
The Daily Caller had an interview with former NSA analyst William Binney, who has been sounding the alarm for over a decade, where he described their vacuum operation of pretty much everything communication-wise, and of an estimated 80% of what goes up on the web. Hence the need for analysis.
Binney: That’s my point. When you ask how much damage these leaks have done to our capability, they’ve actually done absolutely nothing. The terrorists were monitoring all of this information anyway, so they had a pretty good idea of what was being collected. So, who are we keeping this from? It’s not the terrorists. We are really keeping it from the American public. Because that’s who they’re collecting data about. And that’s who they’re keeping it secret from. The terrorists already knew all this stuff.
The President’s Data Initiatives last year is data mining on steroids, or quantum style.
Obama’s initiative is chuck full of a wish list catering to those needs:
“Accelerating and expanding efforts to make government information resources more publicly accessible in “computer-readable” form and spurring the use of those data by entrepreneurs as fuel for the creation of new products, services, and jobs.”
Government sets itself up as the keeper of all information, especially all the personal information it can get its greedy hands on. (they probably know about that birthmark) Wow, what it can do with that information – for your benefit of course. As if we cannot wait to be tracked in every move. Then its sharing capacity for all the new uses it can find for that information. Privacy be damned.
They believe in privacy for killing a baby in the womb, but for everything else, you get the probing “public eye”. How’s that colonoscopy working out for you? Eat more broccoli.
Listen to the words of Obama’s sales pitch about the vast “Initiatives” program:
The Open Data Initiatives project is “liberating” government data and voluntarily-contributed corporate data to fuel entrepreneurship, create jobs, and improve the lives of Americans in tangible ways. As a model, decades ago, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration began making weather data available for free electronic download by anyone. Entrepreneurs used these data to create weather newscasts, websites, mobile applications, insurance, and much more. Similarly, the government’s decision to make the Global Positioning System (GPS) freely available has fueled a vast array of private-sector innovations ranging from navigation systems to precision crop farming, creating massive public benefit and contributing significantly to economic growth. More recently, the Health Data Initiative, launched by the Institute of Medicine and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2010, has opened growing amounts of health-related knowledge and information in computer-readable form from the vaults of the government and publicized the availability of these data to entrepreneurs and innovators. Hundreds of companies and nonprofits have used these data to develop new products and services that are helping millions of Americans and creating jobs of the future in the process. Working closely with the US Chief Technology Officer, the US Chief Information Officer, and an array of agencies, the Open Data Initiatives team has launched and is continuing to scale open data efforts in Health, Energy, Education, Finance, Public Safety, and Global Development. These efforts involve government releasing general data resources in computer-readable form and in accordance with policies that rigorously protect privacy. The goal is to stimulate a rising tide of private-sector entrepreneurship that leverages these data to create tools that help Americans find the right health care provider for them, identify the college that provides the best value for their money, save money on their electricity bills through smarter shopping for the right rate plan, keep their families safe by knowing which products have been recalled, and much more – a rising tide of innovation that also contributes to economic growth and creates jobs.
Oh yes, it’s all to help you. Pay no mind to all the information sharing capability and big-brother collection resources that make all that possible. Welcome to ‘Big Brother 3.0, quantum scale. It’s what his initiative is really all about, big government.
But he is not done:
For Round 2, we are looking for Presidential Innovation Fellows to work on the existing Open Data Initiatives in Health, Energy, Education, Finance, Public Safety, and Global Development, as well as the following new data innovation efforts: [building virtual learning etc etc]
They have quite the appetite, don’t they? I’m sure it is educational learning they are concerned with.
Yes, Jane, you can kill your baby in the warm auspices of “privacy rights” under the federal government’s fiat law, just don’t try to opt out of the governmental data (abuse) system….it won’t be their hard drive that fails. But Obama vows to “fight” for your abortion right and free contraceptives.
Note how they always refer to it as “government data”. Government is the hub for it, I’ll grant them that. It all becomes government data. Funny how it transforms itself from private personal data into government data to market and extort. And then the pitch: ‘look how helpful all this will be to you.’ Sorry, it makes me want to hurl listening to their rosy vision of an America under super-surveillance, and how beneficial that all is to us serfs.
*Big-Brother just got so much smarter that little brother isn’t even needed anymore. Anyone ever seen the movie “Terminator”?
Some people are already calling it Skynet. Maybe the Skynet is befalling you, and that isn’t Chicken Little?
* with added collaboration from Dave- h/t
Resources: Natural News, Obama’s open data initiatives, William Binney/Daily Caller
Lipa is a government-owned utility. And people are suspicious of FEMA? But its funny that this is a target of the anger with the power situation. They demand government intervention to solve the problems. Then you have their subcontractor’s officials saying things like “I am completely comfortable” with the performance so far.
LIPA’s logo is “A committment to Superior service, accountability and transparency.”
Our Mission is to provide highly reliable and economical electric service through our valued workforce with a commitment to superior customer service, accountability and transparency in all of our operations, while being recognized as a leader in the advancement of efficiency and renewable energy.
But the reports are completely contrary to their statement. They run old mainframe computers and use antiquated paper maps. And then the company officials cannot even face people at a press conference. They send their subcontractor (National Grid) out to give statements. Transparency? Even when there is a mining disaster a company spokesperson is provided.
LIPA is: A non-profit municipal electric provider, owns the retail electric Transmission and Distribution System on Long Island and provides electric service to more than 1.1 million customers in Nassau and Suffolk counties and the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens. LIPA is the 2nd largest municipal electric utility in the nation in terms of electric revenues, 3rd largest in terms of customers served and the 7th largest in terms of electricity delivered. In 2010, LIPA outperformed all other overhead electric utilities in New York State for frequency of service interruptions, and ranked second for duration of service interruptions. LIPA does not provide natural gas service or own any on-island generating assets.
Outperformed all other OVERHEAD electric utilities in NY? Notice they did not mention 2011 when Irene swept through. Then the spokesman for the subcontractor says he is “completly comfortable” with their response. They aren’t even admitting problems. Some municipal electric provider.
Wikipedia: “LIPA caught much media criticism in their response to Super Storm Sandy.[and Irene] This raised questions about government-owned corporations and the monopoly they form.”
This was a previous article in July questioning the capabilities of LIPA in a disaster situation.
Concerning local environmentalists, energy advocates and politicians are revelations questioning LIPA’s ability to meet the Island’s growing energy demands as well as resolve criticisms regarding its current management structure, power contracts and emergency response—many of which were detailed in recently released audits commissioned by New York State and Suffolk County.
In the immediate days ahead, Raacke, like every Long Islander, can only hope that during this hurricane season—which lasts until Nov. 30—LIPA and National Grid, the British-based contractor that runs the transmission system and the gas power generation here, won’t repeat last year’s mistakes, which left thousands of customers in the dark for up to nine days, drawing heat from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who told National Grid after Irene hit on Aug. 28 to “get the power on now!”
Long Island elected officials joined in the governor’s denunciation, and their outrage over the outage may have influenced LIPA’s Board of Trustees’ decision last fall to award its $3.9-billion contract to run the electric system to PSEG, a New Jersey-based utility, which will take over from Nat Grid on Jan. 1, 2014. Complicating matters, Nat Grid will still maintain and operate its natural gas and power generation facilities on LI, retaining some 1,200 to 1,300 workers, which adds to the confusion about what will happen when the next hurricane comes and PSEG needs more emergency crews to handle downed electric lines.
The Long Island Power Authority’s agonizingly slow response to Sandy came after warnings as far back as 2006 that the utility was unprepared to handle a major storm, failed to upgrade antiquated technology, neglected vital maintenance and regularly underbudgeted for storm response.
A state report and a review of records show that the regional utility lagged behind industry standards by not using smartphones and digital tablets — and at times even printers or fax machines — in favor of pen-and-paper memos and dial-up Internet access.
The utility’s critically important power outage management system, which helps direct the recovery response, operates on a 25-year-old mainframe computer that was cited as one of the biggest shortcomings in the utility’s response to Tropical Storm Irene in August of last year.