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Explosive New Snowden Doc: NSA/GCHQ Stole Vital Cell Phone Encryption Keys


#1

Explosive New Snowden Doc: NSA/GCHQ Stole Vital Cell Phone Encryption Keys

Jon Queally, staff writer

Explosive new reporting by The Intercept published Thursday, based on documents obtained by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, reveals how the U.S. spy agency and their British counterpart, the GCHQ, worked together in order to hack into the computer systems of the world's largest manufacturer of cell phone SIM cards – giving government spies access to highly-guarded encryption codes and unparalleled abilities to monitor the global communications of those with phones using the cards.


#3

Sort of ties in to the mentality of those who flock to watch movies such as American Sniper. Nothing is sacred anymore. Anything goes. As Maynard sang: "Consequences dictate
our course of action
and it doesn't matter what's right.
It's only wrong if you get caught...." Seems to have become the new cognitive framework within which we operate...situational ethics at their most ephemeral...


#4

If this latest revelation by Mr. Snowden, surprises you...it simply means you have not been paying attention!


#5

Is not what the two intelligence (forgive the oxymoron) agencies did illegal? Is it not actionable in a court of law? Should the leadershit of these agencies not be imprisoned for theft?


#6

"Told about the program, Gerard Schouw, a member of the Dutch Parliament, said the revelation was 'unbelievable.' And repeated: 'Unbelievable.'"

I say, with great admiration and gratitude for all that MP Schouw does and has done, No totalitarian scheme in which Obama participates should any longer be "unbelievable"


#7

ISTM the most effective treatment will be when we-the-spied-upon* convincingly demonstrate an equally powerful and ever-threatening ability to spy on the spies. All we have to do is (threaten to) dangerously expose just a fraction of top leaders' criminality and I believe TPTB would suddenly agree to a spying truce. Subject to mutual verification, of course.

*Includes not merely everyone everywhere but leaders vs. leaders within U.S. and throughout the world, setting them against each other.


#8

Maybe Hunter thompson was right when he said america had become a place where only pigs are upward mobile, and men die like dogs for no good reason.
Just when you think we couldn't sink any lower, we grab a shovel and keep digging. We seem to be on a survival trip now, eager to show the rest of the world what filthy beasts we can become.


#9

he he. i bought my handhelds from chinese manufacturers.

don''t say it, the cynics among you. i know what yr thinking already smirk


#10

you are implying that people in the u.s. "government" know what they are doing. the whole thing (along with the Federal Reserve) has turned into an incompetent mess, with only the "government's" owners in command of anything. Viva BRICS!


#11

"the tumor" = the sociopaths who now control the show.


#12

A succinct understatement


#13

It's not clear to me who "participates" in such activities. How do we know Obama was/is aware of this data theft? Increasingly, it looks to me that the US presidency is a symbolic institution with shrinking power or access to what different branches of government are up to.


#15

How do we know that our politicians (including the President) have not been held hostage to such threats from the spy agencies for years? It's possible Congressional votes are being directed from the NSA or whoever else has confidential information on the private lives of politicians.


#16

What if we did not build, use, or allow an owned, privatized, colonized, corporatized structure of communication systems technology?

Why do we "need" a Subscriber Identification Module?

What if all phones simply connected to the network, and could communicate by entering the number, with no other identifying information ever attached - in the device hardware or software - to the number?

Imagine a human world in which there is no monthly subscriber fee. Technology is a commons. The heritage of humanity, belonging to all. You don't need to log in, or send payment, each month. Ever. There is no need to track you as a "subscriber" with your required "Subscriber Identification Module."

We are relentlessly told - through more-or-less sophisticated propaganda - that communication networks are structured as they are, in order to best serve us.

[Regarding "serve us," cite closing words of Twilight Zone episode "To Serve Man": "It's a cookbook!"]

In reality, structuring our communication networks as owned, privatized, colonized, corporate systems, is not "to best serve us," but to best serve the "owners" of these systems.

Can we imagine any form of popular control of the process and structure of technological systems development?

Is our consciousness so deeply colonized by the privatized corporate system, that we cannot imagine the capacity of humans to end social processes of privatization, colonization and corporatization, and institute more distributive economic, political and technological structures?

Are we so intensely absorbed by the wonders of i-technology - network systems in which our identity is embedded in the nodes we use - so that we adore the commercialized personalization enabled by this privatized centralized "SIM"-dependent system?

Do we imagine we can use such network technology - with each of us as nodes on the network - and NOT fall victim to the logic of such network - to the centralization of information to be plundered?

i accept that most people don't think about the implications of network technology being implemented in this age. But i'd still like to think there's an intuitive revulsion at the obvious centralization and exploitation of information that's taking place with our tools and toys (internet, smart phones, etc.).

Those eager to seek centralized power, become those most likely to determine hardware and software of centralized intelligence services at the nexus of corporate and political executive powers. By hook or by crook, as seen here! There is some truth to the "sociopathic elite" narrative, regarding human monsters currently inhabiting certain key corporate and governmental executive positions.

But there is also a gut reaction in common humans: What systemic abuse are we unwilling to accept? Or worse: What are we even able to notice?

And what self-ish, tantalizing crap will we fall for, in the face of all reality?

Back to the top: What if we did not build, use, or allow an owned, privatized, colonized, corporatized structure of communication systems technology?

Why do we "need" a Subscriber Identification Module?


#17

Firstly, it was my understanding that they could listen in on any phone call. I remember when the GSM network was first introduced into Australia. What we had prior to that was an analogue phone network that anyone could listen in on, or at least any amatuer radio hobbyist. Australia's telecommunication corporation, Australia Telecom (now known as Telstra) announced the introduction of the new phone technology. But then, Australia's intelligence agency, ASIO stopped it. They basically said "Whoa there, we dont yet have the phone tapping equipment ready to listen in, so you cannot offer the phone service". And they held up the introduction of the GSM network for 6 months. If they cant tap it, we werent allowed to have it.

But I suppose that is not what the sim card does. I imagine that it is more of a verification thing. It has a signature. Maybe the opening dialog between a sim and the network goes like this:-

  • Network to Sim: Here is a random string of 50 characters. Prove that you are who you say you are by signing this string.
  • Sim to network: Here is your signed string back. Only something that knows the private key can sign this.
  • Network to Sim: We have examined your signature using the public key. And it yeilded the same randomly generated string. Now we know that you must be in possession of the private key, and we therefore now believe that you are who you say you are.

So, if I guessed it correctly, (and I am only guessing) then what the NSA has stolen is that private key, which will enable them to fake a SIM. What they have gained is the ability to make phone conversations using the phone acount of someone else, i.e. do naughty things and blame it on someone else.

The NSA would always been able to listen in to phone conversations.