“Our government … teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.” – Louis D. Brandeis
What do you do when you are faced with a lawless justice system? A Congress more interested in controlling the Internet than protecting freedom of speech? When those who have taken an oath to protect and defend the Constitution are not protecting its 2nd Amendment?
Liberty threatened often leads to anarchy, and that’s what the international hacker group Anonymous is practicing.
In a message to those who seek to impose limitations on the Internet, Anonymous posted the following: “You really want to empower copyright holders to demand that users who violate IP rights (with no legal process) have their Internet connections terminated? You really want to allow a country with an oppressive Internet censorship regime to demand under the treaty that an ISP in another country remove site content?”
Heed this warning, says Anonymous, which, in a flex of its cyber muscle last Friday, took down three U.S. Government websites to protest the looming Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA.
ACTA, an intellectual property protection agreement currently being negotiated by 13 countries, would require Internet Service Providers to identify and remove allegedly infringing material from the Internet.
“If ACTA is signed by all participating negotiating countries,” Anonymous warns, “you can rest assured that Antisec will bring a f—ing mega-uber-awesome war that rain torrential hellfire down on all enemies of free speech, privacy and Internet freedom. We will systematically knock all evil corporations and governments off of our Internet.”
According to a report published in the International Business Times, Anonymous replaced all three federal government websites with this graphically violent video.
In the last few weeks, Anonymous has targeted other U.S. government websites, including the Department of Justice and the CIA. The hackers also listened to and recorded an FBI conference call with British police to illustrate the ineptitude of those government agencies.
Anonymous asserted, “Even more bothersome than your complete lack of competence in maintaining your own f—ing websites and serving the citizens you are supposed to be protecting, is the U.S. federal government’s support of ACTA.
Anonymous promises regularly scheduled Friday cyber attacks. Watch for them. Anarchy? Or retaliation?
Canada’s new Internet monitoring rules
Meanwhile, critics say Canada’s proposed bill giving its law enforcement officials broader powers to probe online communications poses threats to privacy and unreasonable search and seizure.
The measure gives new tools to conduct surveillance and access private information. Justice Minister Rob Nicholson justified the legislation, saying, “New technologies provide new ways of committing crimes, making them more difficult to investigate.”
However, independent Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart wrote a letter to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews last October in which she expressed “deep concerns” about the proposed changes which could have “serious repercussions for privacy rights.”
“I recognize that rapid developments in communication technologies are creating new challenges for law enforcement and national security authorities and that the Internet cannot be a lawless zone,” Stoddart wrote, “[But] by reducing the depth of judicial scrutiny … [the bill would allow] government to subject more individuals to surveillance and scrutiny.”
What to do, what to do? What would you do?
FBI to shut down portions of Internet
What if tomorrow you log on and discover the Internet is not available to you? Panic? Well, whether you’re surfing the ‘Net for pleasure or for business, the Internet’s inaccessibility could stop you in your tracks.
Yet the FBI plans to do just that on March 8 to some half-million Fortune 500 and government agency computers to rid them of what the feds say is an extremely malicious computer virus.
Krebs on Security reports that DNSChanger infected more than four million computers in some 100 countries by six men who were arrested for the crime last November in Estonia.
Gizmodo reported that the virus causes the user to be sent to fraudulent websites by changing DNS settings.
If a government agency like the FBI can shut down portions of the Internet, what’s to stop it from shutting down all of it in an “emergency”?
Speaking of the FBI, the agency is advertising for programmers for help in developing a web alert system currently in the research stage.
The 12-page document titled “FBI Social Media Application” specifies that applicants must be able to “rapidly assemble critical open source information and intelligence … to quickly vet, identify and geo-locate breaking events, incidents and emerging threats.”
The FBI said if the project goes forward, it “will not focus on specific persons or protected groups, but on words that relate to ‘events’ and ‘crisis’ and activities constituting violations of federal criminal law or threats to national security. Examples of these words will include lockdown, bomb, suspicious package, white powder, active shoot, school lockdown, etc.” – words you should think twice about including in your email, blogs and other online correspondence, perhaps?
Cybersecurity not effective without NSA
“The Maverick” lived up to his name again last week when Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., caught his Senate confreres off-guard with his own cybersecurity bill.
Here’s the story: After three years of dickering over language for a bipartisan cybersecurity measure to “address the security of the nation’s critical infrastructure systems,” the Senate finally hammered out legislation that looked like it had a good chance of passing and called it the Cybersecurity Act of 2012.
But Maverick McCain said, “Not so fast,” and sprang a surprise, announcing that he and seven other Senate ranking members were introducing their own competing bill to address failings they see in the Cybersecurity Act.
According to a written statement, the octet, which includes Senators Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V., opposes the Senate’s proposal because it doesn’t give authority “to the only institutions currently capable of [protecting the homeland], U.S. Cybercommand and the National Security Agency.”
“According to [General Keith Alexander, the commander of U.S. Cybercommand and the director of the NSA], in order to stop a cyber attack you have to see it in real time, and you have to have those authorities,” the statement declares. “This legislation does nothing to address this significant concern, and I question why we have yet to have a serious discussion about who is best suited to protect our country from this threat we all agree is very real and growing.”
Read more about what the Senate’s current cybersecurity bill proposes to do, and keep a watchful eye out for McCain’s bill and the language it will contain.
Another Google privacy breach and what they’re doing about it
Google is reportedly trying to limit damage from its latest privacy scandal by giving Google Apple Safari browser users the ability to block advertisers’ tracking online behavior. Apple’s Safari Web browser operates on iPhones, iPads and Macs. Meanwhile, federal lawmakers are questioning whether Google violated an FTC agreement in this privacy violation.
And Google Chairman Eric Schmidt could sell as many as 2.4 million shares of the company’s class A common stock this month as part of a predetermined stock trading plan. The stock is currently worth some $1.5 billion.
Schmidt, who stepped down as Google’s chief executive last April, held 9.1 million shares of Google’s Class A and Class B common stock as of Dec. 31, or about 9.7 percent voting power.
DIY abortion instructions posted on Facebook
WND’s Dave Tombers has reported that prominent pro-life advocate Bryan Kemper questioned Facebook after the social network site removed his pro-life message. This followed Facebook’s decision that allowed Rebecca Gompert of Women on Waves to post directions on how to perform an at-home abortion using pills readily available at local pharmacies.
The article was accompanied by a grim graphic that depicted a tiny aborted human fetus.
Apple factories in China scrutinized for labor conditions
Taiwan-owned Foxconn is the largest maker of Apple products. Last week, the labor watchdog group Fair Labor Association, or FLA, began inspecting working conditions there, as well as at two other Apple factories in China, the Taiwan-owned manufacturers Quanta and Pegatron. The inspections followed on the heels of reports that employees were overworked and underpaid.
FLA’s findings and recommendations will be posted on its website, fairlabor.org, in early March.
Meanwhile, Mac sales in China are catching Apple’s eye.
iTV in the iFuture?
It’s a tantalizing thought – an Apple television that has all the functionality of a traditional television set coupled with Apple’s innovative technology.
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook recently hinted that product could be in our future. The currently available Apple TV is a set-top streaming movie player.
“For those people that have it right now, the customer [satisfaction rating] is off the chart,” Cook said, “but we need something that could go more main market for it to become a serious category for the company.”
The Los Angeles Times reported that “Speculation about an Apple television (some are calling it the iTV) has ramped up lately, with plenty of observers guessing about what it will look and behave like.”
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson that he “cracked” the code for reinventing the television, but left the reader wondering what that meant. Stay tuned!
Sign of the times: Surviving college by signing up as a “sugar baby”
The ratio is 20 sugar babies to every one sugar daddy. What’s a sugar baby? A college age woman looking for a “sugar daddy” to pay her tuition and living expenses in exchange for sex. Oy!
They connect on a website called www.seekingarrangement.com. And it’s a growing trend. Florida ranks third in the U.S. behind New York and California with 67,815 total users, of all ages. There are just over 1,000,000 and growing by 1,000 more daily. What makes this any different from prostitution? Listen to this young woman explain.
Twitter can get you into political hot water. Think before you Tweet – a good and sound policy. Now pass the salsa!
Hacker gets eight months
A British student who hacked into Facebook’s giant computers from his bedroom will be sleeping on a hard bench for eight months.
Glenn Mangham, 26, was found guilty of hacking into the social networking nerve center and stealing sensitive “invaluable” intellectual property. His lawyer said Mangham was an “ethical hacker” who saw the stunt as a challenge and stressed that his client had never tried to sell the stolen data or pass it on to anyone else.
Facebook boasts some 845 million users worldwide
Spyware being used in Syrian conflict
Warring Syria’s regime supporters have unleashed computer viruses that spy on opposition activists.
A U.S.-based antivirus software maker analyzed one of the viruses and determined that it passes info robbed from computers to a server at a government-owned telecommunications company in Syria.
“Fame isn’t what it used to be”
In this hybrid culture of broadcast and the Internet, who decides who becomes famous? Two odd Web phenomena. And a swimsuit model.
Why is Twitter a dangerous place for celebrities like Oprah, Roland Martin, Ashton Kutcher, Alec Baldwin and Anthony Weiner?
Bits & Bytes
- Twitter offers self-service ad buys for small business. Facebook crunching future numbers for mobile ad revenues.
- If you buy ads, here’s what the competition’s up to.
The Time Capsule
1965 – Malcolm X assassinated, arrests made at scene.
1972 – Nixon arrives in China, meets with Mao.
1986 – Space station Mir launched, communists celebrate.
1993 – World Trade Center bombed.
Congratulations to WND readers Bess Roby of New Port Richey, Fla., and Carlton Harvey of Philadelphia, Penn., who were among the first to correctly guess actor Sam Shepard in his portrayal of Chuck Yeager in the 1983 film “The Right Stuff”. The film was based on Tom Wolfe’s book about the original U.S. Mercury 7 astronauts.
The selection was tied to last week’s Time Capsule item when in 1923, BG Charles Elwood “Chuck” Yeager was born in West Virginia.
The quote was: “I’m a fearless man, but I’m scared to death of you.”
This week’s quote: “Life is tough, but it’s tougher if you’re stupid.”
Name the movie, the actor and the character. Send your answer to me at the email address below. Please be sure to add your town and state. Good luck!