Thursday, August 1, 2013

They want our passwords

These guys keep getting worse and worse.  Mark my words, it’ll be Nazi Germany before they’re done. 
The U.S. government has demanded that major Internet companies divulge users' stored passwords, according to two industry sources familiar with these orders, which represent an escalation in surveillance techniques that has not previously been disclosed. 
If the government is able to determine a person's password, which is typically stored in encrypted form, the credential could be used to log in to an account to peruse confidential correspondence or even impersonate the user. Obtaining it also would aid in deciphering encrypted devices in situations where passwords are reused. 
"I've certainly seen them ask for passwords," said one Internet industry source who spoke on condition of anonymity. "We push back." 
A second person who has worked at a large Silicon Valley company confirmed that it received legal requests from the federal government for stored passwords. Companies "really heavily scrutinize" these requests, the person said. "There's a lot of 'over my dead body.'"
Some of the government orders demand not only a user's password but also the encryption algorithm and the so-called salt, according to a person familiar with the requests. A salt is a random string of letters or numbers used to make it more difficult to reverse the encryption process and determine the original password. Other orders demand the secret question codes often associated with user accounts.
I used to hear people say "I don't have anything to hide," when I complained about government snoops.  I wonder if they would still say that.  That kind of complacency is what is driving this country into totalitarianism.  The people refuse to stop the government from extending itself.  Everyone wants to use violence to make everyone else conform to whatever ideals they hold, and politicians gladly promise them everything they ask for. 

Generally I blame public education for the stupidity I see around me, but I don't know if that's true.  Perhaps people have become fundamentally flawed.  Their morality has degraded so far that everyone else is their enemy, and force is the first and only tool of communication they reach for.  If that's right, there will be no fixing this country.  After it falls apart, there won't any Jeffersons to pick up the pieces.

Hello, homeland security.  You want to ask me about my web searches?  Well, since you've got those guns that you might be soon pointing at me I guess I will answer...
Professional writer Michele Catalano searched online Tuesday for information on pressure cookers while (at around the same time) her husband was Googling backpacks.

The next morning, she claims they got a visit from a joint terrorism task force.

“The composition of such task forces depend on the region of the country,” Philip Bump writes in The Atlantic, “but, as we outlined after the Boston bombings, include a variety of federal agencies. Among them: the FBI and Homeland Security.”

Catalano describes the scene:

[T]hey were peppering my husband with questions. Where is he from? Where are his parents from? They asked about me, where was I, where do I work, where do my parents live. Do you have any bombs, they asked. Do you own a pressure cooker? My husband said no, but we have a rice cooker. Can you make a bomb with that? My husband said no, my wife uses it to make quinoa. What the hell is quinoa, they asked. …

Have you ever looked up how to make a pressure cooker bomb? My husband, ever the oppositional kind, asked them if they themselves weren’t curious as to how a pressure cooker bomb works, if they ever looked it up. Two of them admitted they did.

Obviously, this raises a serious question: how did the feds know what Catalano and her husband were looking for online?

No comments:

Post a Comment