« previous   misc   next »

Governments Worldwide Using Google to Spy On You


By Patrick   Follow   Sun, 30 Dec 2012, 1:37am PST   1,844 views   44 comments
Watch (0)   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/14/governments-worldwide-asking-google-to-hand-over-more-data/

There is more uncomfortable news for people concerned about the privacy of their e-mail accounts after the F.B.I. investigation that led to the resignation of the C.I.A. director, David H. Petraeus. The number of government requests to Google to hand over user account data is markedly increasing, according to a report published on Tuesday by Google. In the first six months of this year, governments around the world made 20,938 requests to Google to provide information on 34,614 accounts, the company said. In the same period in 2011, governments made 15,744 requests on 25,342 accounts, according to company data. During...

« First     « Previous     Comments 5-44 of 44     Last »

Kevin   Sun, 30 Dec 2012, 3:30am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 5

Note that requests aren't the same thing as compliance. Lots of data requests can be denied legally.

bob2356   Sun, 30 Dec 2012, 4:06am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 6

Just use a service like Anonymizer to hide behind. I've used it for years for anything I want private.

Patrick   Sun, 30 Dec 2012, 4:09am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 7

Which Anonymizer do you use?

I wouldn't trust any commercial anonymizer.

bob2356   Sun, 30 Dec 2012, 4:31am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 8

I've bounced around between commercial and free products with mixed results. Back to using anonymizer.com for now. Seems like a lot of the free products route through Russia which doesn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling. I don't bother for things like patrick.net or realtor.com anyway.

Dan8267   Sun, 30 Dec 2012, 12:38pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (3)   Dislike     Comment 9

Patrick says

The number of government requests to Google to hand over user account data is markedly increasing, according to a report published on Tuesday by Google.

The solution is quite simple. Whenever a government agent demands information about private citizens, Google should reply by publishing the search history of the high ranking state officials of that government including their at-home searches. This will quite governments damn fast.

Patrick   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 2:03am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 10

Some unknown number of these requests are Stalinist-type "National Security Letters" which may not even be discussed in any way, directly violating the First Amendment:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_security_letters

In fact, you should expect to receive one now for your impertinance...

TechGromit   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 2:37am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 11

Patrick says

In the first six months of this year, governments around the world made 20,938 requests to Google to provide information on 34,614 accounts, the company said.

Can they spy on you, Yes, but are they really interested in what Iwog, Patrick or TechGromit are doing, most likely not. The number requests vs the of existing number of accounts is so small that it not even a concern for me. You have to be involved in some serious Anti-government to even get on the governments radar.

Moderate Infidel   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 2:45am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 12

They spy on us so they can find out which porn sites are the best.

Dan8267   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 2:57am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 13

TechGromit says

You have to be involved in some serious Anti-government to even get on the governments radar.

That was true in the analog age when you had to pay humans to spy on humans. Today, computers spy on humans and it's damn cheap. So, yes, the government is interested in knowing everything about everyone.

It turned out that the greatest defense against tyranny was the cost, but now cost is no longer an issue.

Of course, the real problem is that those in government do not have good intentions when spying on people. They don't define "bad guy" as someone who is trying to commit an act of violence, but rather as anyone who's actions might interfere with my career ambitions, expose a scandal or crime, embarrass my party by revealing its incompetence, limit my ability to make wealth by exploiting the system and stealing it from the public, etc.

If everyone had access to the same information that government did, it wouldn't be nearly as scary. The problem is the asymmetry of power.

Moderate Infidel   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 3:15am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 14

The solution is for everyone to openly search for things that the government might flag so they have to spend their time and resources on wild goose chases.

Moderate Infidel   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 3:18am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 15

Here, I'll start.
Taliban. dirty bomb. terrorist. gold hoarding. militia. anti-government.
assassination. boob. guns. penis. plot. aliens in government.

Dan8267   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 3:24am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 16

Moderate Infidel says

The solution is for everyone to openly search for things that the government might flag so they have to spend their time and resources on wild goose chases.

Hackers thought of that years ago. They created software to exchange emails that sounded like terrorist plots, to do Google searches on refining uranium, etc. Ultimately, that approach leads to an arms race and arms races are always won by the side with the most money. In the case of spammers vs. anti-spammers, the spammers win. In the case of government vs. private citizens, government wins.

Best to starve the beast of funding. That's why we should completely defund the TSA and the DHS and mostly defund the CIA and NSA. We really don't need to spend all that cash fighting the cold war, now that it's over.

In case no one else has notice, the country's paranoia over terrorism started before 9/11. It started in the 1990s when the cold war ended and the CIA and NSA had to either massively lay off people or invent a new boogie man to justify their massive funding. Guess which one they did.

Moderate Infidel   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 3:38am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 17

But were talking about google searches not emails.

Dan8267   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 3:41am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 18

Moderate Infidel says

But were talking about google searches not emails.

Actually, those information requests from government are far more likely to be email (GMail) than Google searches. You see, email stays around for years. Google is required by law to forget about what you searched for within something like two weeks. Evidently the politicians in various countries including our own don't like the idea of their Google searches being around forever.

Moderate Infidel   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 3:46am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 19

Dan8267 says

Moderate Infidel says

But were talking about google searches not emails.

Actually, those information requests from government are far more likely to be email (GMail) than Google searches. You see, email stays around for years. Google is required by law to forget about what you searched for within something like two weeks. Evidently the politicians in various countries including our own don't like the idea of their Google searches being around forever.

Problem solved then! Don't Gmail.

Dan8267   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 3:56am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 20

Moderate Infidel says

Problem solved then! Don't Gmail.

Problem only partially solved. The government routinely gets access to email accounts from any provider. Also, the government can copy the packets as they are sent over the network.

Use RCA encryption for all emails if you want to solve the problem But most people can't handle decrypting the email even though this was standard practice back in 1993. People would generate their public keys and put them on their website. When you send an email to that person, you encrypted it with their public key and they decrypt it with their private key.

Real simple, but must dumb ass Americans can't even handle that. So email became completely unencrypted and now everyone looks at you funny when you ask them to generate a public/private key pair so you can send them encrypted mail.

Kevin   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 4:38am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 21

I hate to break it to you guys, but when a totalitarian despot takes over the government, it won't matter what kind of encryption you use. They'll just break your fingers until you give them your keys.

lostand confused   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 4:40am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 22

Obama extends warrantless wiretapping through 2017.

http://www.theverge.com/2012/12/31/3822012/president-obama-signs-fisa-extension

Dan8267   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 4:42am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 23

Kevin says

I hate to break it to you guys, but when a totalitarian despot takes over the government, it won't matter what kind of encryption you use. They'll just break your fingers until you give them your keys.

Which is exactly why encryption is so important right now. It prevents that totalitarian government from coming to power. Totalitarian regimes never happen overnight. They grow slowly and insidiously like a cancer.

Dan8267   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 4:43am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 24

lostand confused says

Obama extends warrantless wiretapping through 2017.

Another legitimate reason to hate Obama. Fox News will ignore this.

Call it Crazy   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 4:44am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 25

Moderate Infidel says

Problem solved then! Don't Gmail.

Or Yahoo mail, Hotmail, AOL mail, or any other "free" email.

Kevin   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 6:03am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 26

Dan8267 says

Kevin says

I hate to break it to you guys, but when a totalitarian despot takes over the government, it won't matter what kind of encryption you use. They'll just break your fingers until you give them your keys.

Which is exactly why encryption is so important right now. It prevents that totalitarian government from coming to power. Totalitarian regimes never happen overnight. They grow slowly and insidiously like a cancer.

All evidence is to the contrary. Pretty much every totalitarian regime took power through a coup, civil war, or other rapid transition.

There are basically no examples of a good government turning totalitarian gradually.

Nazi Germany? Nope
Soviet Union? Nope
China? Nope
Cuba? Nope
Cambodia? Nope
North Korea? Nope

I can go on.

You encrypting your email will have zero effect on a totalitarian government coming to power. Aside from the fact that nobody cares about what you write, electronic communication is an insignificant aspect of controlling a society. When an armed brigade kicks in your door and hauls you off to political prison, nobody is going to care that they couldn't actually read whatever you were writing in your emails.

When / if it happens, it will be a black swan event. A nuclear bomb goes off, civil war breaks out, or some other disaster occurs that allows the bad man to sieze power. Nobody will be able to predict it.

For general security concerns (data thieves, not governments),
encrypting email is probably not worthwhile, because it's a bandaid on a poorly secured protocol to begin with. Never send anything important directly via email.

CL   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 6:11am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 27

"You have to be involved in some serious Anti-government to even get on the governments radar".

It would seem to me that they would just keep it all, then pull it out when they needed it. Storage space is cheap since the old echelon days.

And unlike the old telephone network, all of our communications goes over the interweb nowadays. Wasn't that what the Quantico circuit was all about?

Dan8267   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 10:50am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 28

Kevin says

There are basically no examples of a good government turning totalitarian gradually.

Hitler took decades to rise to power. China has steadily become worse over the past 50 years. Hell, even the ancient democracy of Rome deteriorated into a republic which then deteriorated into a dictatorship.

Never underestimate the power of atrophy to kill freedom.

Moderate Infidel   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 10:51am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 29

Dan8267 says

lostand confused says

Obama extends warrantless wiretapping through 2017.

Another legitimate reason to hate Obama. Fox News will ignore this.

Yeah, you can give up all your" illegitimate" reasons now. They probably still outnumber your "legitimate" reasons though.

SoftShell   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 11:40am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 30

Well, i guess if you ain't fuckin up you ain't got nothing to worry about....

Dan8267 says

Today, computers spy on humans and it's damn cheap. So, yes, the government is interested in knowing everything about everyone.

SoftShell   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 11:41am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 31

Better to sacrifice some 'rights' to secure what's left of 'freedom'

Dan8267 says

lostand confused says

Obama extends warrantless wiretapping through 2017.

Another legitimate reason to hate Obama. Fox News will ignore this.

SoftShell   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 11:42am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 32

There is no reason to hate Obama. Maybe his policies......

Dan8267 says

lostand confused says

Obama extends warrantless wiretapping through 2017.

Another legitimate reason to hate Obama. Fox News will ignore this.

Kevin   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 4:42pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 33

Dan8267 says

Kevin says

There are basically no examples of a good government turning totalitarian gradually.

Hitler took decades to rise to power. China has steadily become worse over the past 50 years. Hell, even the ancient democracy of Rome deteriorated into a republic which then deteriorated into a dictatorship.

Never underestimate the power of atrophy to kill freedom.

Hitler had no power until he seized it. He failed, went to prison, then tried again and was successful. He seized his chance in the middle of a complete financial collapse. There was no slow decline where the government gradually turned bad. The day he stole power totalitarianism took hold.

China has become *worse*? Are you nuts? They used to execute people for reading books published in English. And, of course, China became a totalitarian dictatorship via civil war. The old government was kicked out, not co opted.

Rome became a dictatorship through a seizure of power by a leader, but its an awful example since the average roman had the same life under both models.

Moderate Infidel   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 5:03pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 34

SFace says

I actually don't mind. In all honesty, that's what government should do, track terrorsist and significant illegal activities. It's not like they care about your mistress (unless you are a politician maybe) or politics.

The only people who are afraid has something sinister to hide.

You won't mind if we put cameras in your house too just to make doubly sure your not a terrorist. don't worry, we won't use them unless we have to. We also need your DNA on file. Thanks comrade.

bob2356   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 10:05pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 35

SFace says

The only people who are afraid has something sinister to hide.

So you are saying the government has never made a mistake, that everyone single person ever imprisoned in the USA was guilty? There has never been a case of someone innocent getting shafted by some rogue officer just looking to make numbers, a lazy crime lab just making stuff up, someone just plain grabbing the wrong person? Must be nice still believing in Santa Clause and the Easter bunny at your age.

lostand confused   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 10:13pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 36

SFace says

I actually don't mind. In all honesty, that's what government should do, track terrorsist and significant illegal activities. It's not like they care about your mistress (unless you are a politician maybe) or politics.


The only people who are afraid has something sinister to hide.

Not true. While Elliott Spitzer was a politiicans and terrorists laws were used to catch him hiring a hooker-there were others who were caught in the web, who just paid the fine-to avoid public humiliation.

Who knows how many other secret investigations are going on in the name of terrorism. This will not end well.

SoftShell   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 10:56pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)     Comment 37

not at all.
what are you hiding...?

Moderate Infidel says

You won't mind if we put cameras in your house too just to make doubly sure your not a terrorist. don't worry, we won't use them unless we have to. We also need your DNA on file. Thanks comrade.

SoftShell   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 10:58pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)     Comment 38

the world turns....
governments change...
evolution marches on....
get over it.

lostand confused says

Who knows how many other secret investigations are going on in the name of terrorism. This will not end well.

lostand confused   Mon, 31 Dec 2012, 11:42pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 39

SoftShell says

the world turns....
governments change...
evolution marches on....
get over it.


lostand confused says



Who knows how many other secret investigations are going on in the name of terrorism. This will not end well.

I guess since all this started under Bushie and the repubs, you are unable to criticize it, even though the dems continue it with nary a shame.

Evolution leads to many dead ends-eg dinosaurs.

SoftShell   Tue, 1 Jan 2013, 6:10am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (2)     Comment 40

why bother?
you can shit your pants for a year and a day and nothing will change, other than your diapers.

lostand confused says

SoftShell says

the world turns....

governments change...

evolution marches on....

get over it.

lostand confused says

Who knows how many other secret investigations are going on in the name of terrorism. This will not end well.

I guess since all this started under Bushie and the repubs, you are unable to criticize it, even though the dems continue it with nary a shame.

Evolution leads to many dead ends-eg dinosaurs.

lostand confused   Tue, 1 Jan 2013, 6:31am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 41

SoftShell says

why bother?
you can shit your pants for a year and a day and nothing will
change, other than your diapers.

Speak from experience??

SoftShell   Tue, 1 Jan 2013, 6:40am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)     Comment 42

Yes.
What...your mother started you out in Fruit of the Loom??

lostand confused says

SoftShell says

why bother?
you can shit your pants for a year and a day and nothing will

change, other than your diapers.

Speak from experience??

msilenus   Tue, 1 Jan 2013, 7:39am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 43

Personally: I was potty trained before my first memories; so shitting my pants is not within the range of my personal experience. Some of us are later bloomers, I suppose.

This topic is forcing me to develop unpleasant associations with the moniker "SoftShell."

SoftShell   Tue, 1 Jan 2013, 8:41am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)     Comment 44

Nothing wrong with being a late bloomer.
You still have time to recreate what you missed....
Embrace the human experience....

msilenus says

Personally: I was potty trained before my first memories; so shitting my pants is not within the range of my personal experience. Some of us are later bloomers, I suppose.

« First     « Previous comments    

Patrick is moderator of this thread.

Email

Username

Watch comments by email

home   top   share   questions or suggestions? write p@patrick.net