NSA pwns the internet

Written By: - Date published: 11:03 am, June 7th, 2013 - 74 comments
Categories: internet, Spying, telecommunications, us politics - Tags: ,

The NSA has direct access to servers at Google, Apple, Facebook, and other Internet giants, and they collect pretty much whatever data they like. We shouldn’t be surprised. The Guardian has the story:

NSA taps in to internet giants’ systems to mine user data, secret files reveal

• Top secret PRISM program claims direct access to servers of firms including Google, Facebook and Apple
• Companies deny any knowledge of program in operation since 2007

The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.

The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called PRISM, which allows them to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.

The Guardian has verified the authenticity of the document, a 41-slide PowerPoint presentation – classified as top secret with no distribution to foreign allies – which was apparently used to train intelligence operatives on the capabilities of the program. The document claims “collection directly from the servers” of major US service providers.

Although the presentation claims the program is run with the assistance of the companies, all those who responded to a Guardian request for comment on Thursday denied knowledge of any such program.  …

The NSA access was enabled by changes to US surveillance law introduced under President Bush and renewed under Obama in December 2012.

The program facilitates extensive, in-depth surveillance on live communications and stored information. The law allows for the targeting of any customers of participating firms who live outside the US, or those Americans whose communications include people outside the US.

It also opens the possibility of communications made entirely within the US being collected without warrants.  …

Prism

 

PRISM slide crop

74 comments on “NSA pwns the internet”

  1. RedLogix 1

    No such thing as conspiracy theories eh?

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      Long rumoured, but now this is a conspiracy fact.

      Your GMail, Facebook, Xtra (through Yahoo!), instant messaging, whatever, is an open book. Forget the GCSB scandal, they are just a small cog in this wheel allowing spying on any one deemed to be an enemy of the state…or of any incumbent government. Or if you are a friend, associate or family member of anyone under suspicion, sorry you are fair game too. We also know thanks to Julian Assange and Wikileaks that diplomatic negotiations, business deals, corporate activities etc. are all regularly spied upon by the US, these are just tools for them to do more of the same.

      I have also posted a link here previously from (popular mechanics?) on the new Utah data gathering site which attempts to capture and store in perpetuity every single electronic communication within, entering, and leaving the US (including messages from international sources going to non US destinations but simply routed through a US server).

      You may not be designated a protestor, activist or dissident now, but if any time down the track you are, or your children are, the archives of your previous communications are an open book for study.

      I believe a quote from that article is that the US is now a single turnkey away from being a totalitarian state.

    • weka 1.2

      “No such thing as conspiracy theories eh?”

      In light of the conversation a few days ago, +1 RL.

      • Colonial Viper 1.2.1

        there was a “conspiracy theory” going around a few years ago that one of FaceBook’s original investors was acting on behalf of the CIA; essentially that the CIA helped start FaceBook.

        Now it appears wherever there is “conspiracy smoke”, there is very likely to be “conspiracy fire”.

        I’m afraid in a world where real life is stranger than fiction, rationalists like Murray Olsen are going to be left far behind.

        • Murray Olsen 1.2.1.1

          Funnily enough, I’ve stated for years that we should act as if the government can and is reading all our electronic communications. I don’t see that as a conspiracy theory at all, it’s a realistic view of what intelligence agencies do. It also has nothing to do with chemtrails or the Illuminati.

          I also know in principle how to encode all my communications so they can’t be decrypted using presently available technology. I’ll stick to being rational, thank you very much.

          • weka 1.2.1.1.1

            “I also know in principle how to encode all my communications so they can’t be decrypted using presently available technology. I’ll stick to being rational, thank you very much.”

            You’re all right then Jack, good for you.

            You ok with your phone calls being recorded too? How about having a camera in your house?

            • Murray Olsen 1.2.1.1.1.1

              No.
              No.
              Any other ridiculous questions? I don’t eat human children either, in case that was next on your list.
              In fact, if you’d read anything I’ve written, you would have already known the answer to those questions, but I suppose it’s more entertaining to just make stuff up as you go.

              • weka

                I suppose that’s what happens when you comment smugly in a thread where other people might be concerned about their own safety.

                How come you are ok with your emails being recorded but not your phone calls?

                • Murray Olsen

                  I am not OK with my emails being recorded. I am not OK with anyone’s emails being recorded. The fact that I am not OK with it will not stop governments doing it. I also realise there are many paedophiles at large in society. Does that mean I’m OK with what they do? Following your specious logic, I’d have to conclude it does.

                  As for commenting, my name was brought up by CV in what seems a fairly smug manner. In fact, it was a direct attack. I don’t see how the hell I was being smug.

                  Anything else you’d like to find me guilty of while you’re at it? Or is selfishness (I’m alright, Jack), support of spy agencies, and being OK with having my emails recorded enough for one day?

                  By the way, plenty of people know how to encrypt their emails. Most don’t bother because it just attracts more attention. I don’t because I don’t put anything in my emails or on the internet that could compromise me in any way. The way things are these days, anyone using unbreakable encryption could well find themselves renditioned to warmer climes. Just to be clear, I’m not OK about that either.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    At least I didn’t call you an irrational paranoid conspiracy theorist. Or maybe I did? When I used your name I simply said that your rationalist approach was simply not going to keep up with a reality that was less than rational. I suppose as a scientist you may have seen that as an attack on the tenets of your world view belief system, but it wasn’t really an attack on you personally.

                    Anyways it seems to me like all the fears and suspicions you think are reasonable, even if they are vast in scope, are rational and well grounded, yet step outside those bounds, and they rapidly become “conspiracy theories”. Which I suppose is a fine way to view the order of things.

                    My observation: there’s a long grey scale of likely to unlikely, and there are a lot of surprises on that scale most of us are not yet aware of.

                  • RedLogix

                    As I said awhile back, us ordinary people know nutin’. As a result I try to take a middle road on this. Instead of taking black and white positions on these ‘conspiracy theories’, I mentally assign a probability to them.

                    Very few things are absolutely true or false, most things can be seen in some light between one extreme or another. NASA faking the moon landings is 99.999% untrue; the NSA comprehensively spying on us all; yesterday 95% true, is now 99.9999% true.

                    http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/vinge/misc/u05/ule-s.gif

                    What does annoy me is when people get all positional and confrontational about their personal perception of this probability. Fact is… to some extent or another we are all guessing.

                    http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2939#comic

                    • Murray Olsen

                      Fair enough, RL, that’s pretty much how most people decide stuff. I get more confrontational than I should for a number of reasons. The main one is that I get sick of being told I’m either brainwashed and believe everything on the news, or a paid disinformation agent, because I don’t agree that chemtrails exist or that 9/11 was a controlled demolition, for example. I also get upset at the number of times I’ve seen people hijack movements, meetings, or discussions by insisting that whatever they think is the most important issue be the sole topic.

                      I will say that we’re not always just guessing. When someone tells me that the CIA uses optical fibres to transmit microwaves for mind control purposes and I say that’s a load of crap, I’m not guessing. I generally try to make it clear when I’m expressing an opinion/guess.

                    • weka

                      +1.

                      My problem with most conspiracy theorists isn’t the theory so much as the lack of critical thinking skills by some of the major proponents (the theory is after all just a theory). And when the rationalists can’t see past their own belief systems. Most of us live in the middle ground looking both ways, but it seems prudent to stay open to the possibility of things we don’t yet know or understand (which doesn’t mean giving up critical analysis).

                    • Colonial Viper

                      USA now employing systems and laws East Germany’s Stasi could only dream of

                      http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2013-06-06/government-also-monitoring-content-our-phone-calls

          • Colonial Viper 1.2.1.1.2

            I’ve stated for years that we should act as if the government can and is reading all our electronic communications. I don’t see that as a conspiracy theory at all, it’s a realistic view of what intelligence agencies do

            Lol conspiracy theory paranoid much?

            You left out the logical next step of what they do with that mass of data, and how the political powers in charge (who after all ordered and funded these activities in the first place) then use your information.

            Don’t say, maybe *that’s* when it finally becomes a “conspiracy theory” in your books?

            • Murray Olsen 1.2.1.1.2.1

              Just make up for yourself what I think. I’ve explained it before, but you’re more interested in scoring imaginary points. I can see how this is quite different from 9/11 stuff, chemtrails, HAARP, Illuminati, Hollow Earth etc. If you can’t, that’s not my problem.

        • Bill 1.2.1.2

          You do understand the difference between a suspicion (well grounded or otherwise) and a conspiracy theory CV, yes?

          • weka 1.2.1.2.1

            But who gets to judge which is which?

            • Bill 1.2.1.2.1.1

              You get to judge. And it’s fairly straight forward. It’s the difference between me suspecting you’re an alien on the one hane and announcing it as a matter of fact on the other.

          • Colonial Viper 1.2.1.2.2

            I think it takes secret agreement between multiple government agencies, senior political figures and business leaders to secretly fund and organise the mass capture and recording of every single electronic transmission made in a day within billion dollar data centres, for later use for any purpose they decide, completely outside of the realm of public, judicial or democratic oversight.

            You can tell me whether that is a conspiracy theory (now conspiracy fact) or whether that was a ‘plausible suspicion’.

            • Bill 1.2.1.2.2.1

              Do spy agencies employ undemocratic means to further information gathering agendas? I’d be surprised if that wasn’t the case. And what this NSA leek does is confirm the quite common sense suspicion that spy agencies do not operate in a transparent fashion and further (more importantly), give an insight to their capabilities and ways of operating.

              But I’d prefer a more subtle example such as – ‘Is it believable that the US government would allow the death of thousands of relatively innocant people?’ (Answer =Yes) Against – ‘Did the US government knowingly and directly conspire in the demolition of the twin towers by, for example, planting explosives in the towers?’ (Answer =No)

              And those that hold the answer to the latter question to be ‘yes’ throw occams razor wa-a-ay out the window in their tireless efforts to construct a conspiracy from spurious so-called *facts* surrounding the collapse of those towers (that can be shown to be false by the application of engineering principles) or by employing *facts* that are so tenuous and outlandish as to be utterly laughable.

              But since it is reasonable and able to be demonstrated from the historical record that governments (the US included) have scant regard for human life – to what degree is it reasonable to suspect that the US government knew that some form of terrorist act was being considered and allowed things to unfold for political reasons but had no idea of the specific details or targets? I don’t think that’s an unreasonable thought/suspicion, but also think it’s not worth wasting any time on. The political aftermath…the launching of the ‘war on terror’ and all of its consequences is what matters

              • Colonial Viper

                throw occams razor wa-a-ay out the window in their tireless efforts to construct a conspiracy from spurious so-called *facts* surrounding the collapse of those towers (that can be shown to be false by the application of engineering principles)

                3 skyscrapers suffered widely varying and assymetrical damage that day. Two out of the three were hit by planes from different directions and at different levels; the third skyscraper was not hit by any plane.

                However all three of them collapsed vertically upon their own foot print.

                I’d love to know what “engineering princples” allowed that circumstance to happen.

    • Murray Olsen 1.3

      Of course there are. The question is not whether the theories exist, but whether they are plausible. An even more important question is whether they are used to make people feel helpless rather than organising against the mess we’re in.

      • weka 1.3.1

        Well I’ll agree with you on that one. I’m not sure what the point is of scaring people if you don’t give them tools to deal with the problem.

      • rosy 1.3.2

        +1 Murray Olsen
        I don’t recall anyone of the left stating conspiracies don’t exist, and there’s been plenty of agreement that it’s the plausibility/probability/evidence-gathering that is important.

        Talking across each other because some people can agree on the plausibility of some conspiracies but entirely disagree about the plausibility of other seems to me a complete waste of energy.

        I note that on this thread is seems all agree there has been a conspiracy to secretly collect electronic communications data. Isn’t who, why, where, when, what and how is much more important than point scoring?

        I for one, am pretty interested to know if our flash new GCSB laws were written with aiding the U.S. in collecting data on U.S. citizens in mind, and if so, is there a reciprocal agreement?

        • Murray Olsen 1.3.2.1

          If we’re lucky, Nicky Hagar might write another book soon. If we’re really unlucky, Ian Wishart might.

          I’d suspect the US had a huge input into our new laws, but seeing how the GCSB could collect stuff on non-residents/citizens legally already, I’m not sure how what you suggest would fit. As for reciprocal agreements, my understanding is that we send them a lot of raw data, they analyse it, and then tell us what they decide we need to know. The reciprocal agreement our craven intelligence community and politicians would have with the seppos is probably heavily weighted in favour of the US and A, and then breached by them at will anyway. A bit reminiscent of the TPPA would be my guess. I just hope we get a government that realises we’re a sovereign nation before that obscenity gets signed, but I won’t be holding my breath.

          • ghostrider888 1.3.2.1.1

            so Murray, with your expertise, what do you think of ‘The Coming Technological Singularity’ – Vernor Vinge (Professor of Mathematics, Computer Scientist; SDSU) , in 30 years, from his statement in 1993.

            • Murray Olsen 1.3.2.1.1.1

              None of my professional expertise is really relevant to his article, which seems to be a metaview of AI (also IA), ethics, and philosophy. What I do see is something quite scary – we create something that makes us redundant and, if what he says about further evolution is right, we will never even understand why we’re regarded as redundant. At the moment we seem to be intent on destroying ourselves via global warming, so from a purely selfish (and pessimistic) perspective, that may not change much.

              Moore’s Law seems to have held so far where processing is concerned, but must break down one day with improvements of present architecture to depend on. Quantum computing offers a way past this, but I have two problems with that concept. One is that I am dubious that it will ever work as promised and the second is that the day it does, the NSA will grab it for themselves and it’ll effectively disappear. The technological singularity could end up being like commercial fusion – always 20 years away.

              It was an interesting read at least. Thanks. I wonder if it came out of a wine and cheese session at an AI conference?

              • ghostrider888

                😀

              • RedLogix

                Vernor Vinge is a Professor Emeritus of Computer Science (San Diego SU) and a well known hard-SF author.

                From the very beginning of his career he has addressed many aspects of the apparently inexorable impact of Moore’s Law and the many implications of this brings. He’s definitely one of the groundbreaking thinkers in this area.

                Plus I’m a big fan … having a complete collection and all.

                • ghostrider888

                  gee, you guys (and gals) and your Science Fiction; I hardly find time to read the non-fiction I’m interested in, and then there’s that new-fangled magic-realism, and all those classics, modern literature and old; God, let the Internet crash soon, please.

    • Poission 1.4

      No such thing as conspiracy theories eh?

      Oh it gets better.The US DOJ is appealing (in secret) the secret findings of a us secret court’ that found the secret surveillance was unconstitutional ie PRISM.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/07/justice-department-prism_n_3405101.html

      • ghostrider888 1.4.1

        a raft of articles in the Herald ‘World’ section today, eeevin.

      • Murray Olsen 1.4.2

        Ironic that the fuss over there is about US agencies spying on US citizens when they were only supposed to spy on foreigners. Same script, different country.

        • ghostrider888 1.4.2.1

          Thanks for the reply; I appreciate the amplified architecture of your comments, and one can never be certain 😉 of the probabilities of having ones own Horrorscope read.

  2. ghostrider888 2

    Rev. 13:7 It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. 8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast- all whose names have not been written ( in another) book of life…

  3. RJL 3

    It could be interesting to know whether MegaUpload was “invited” to join PRISM. And whether or not it refused.

    • weka 3.1

      I’m a little confused. Are you saying the FB, google, apple etc have given permission?

      Does this open them up to lawsuits?

      edit – it’s been a long time since I actually read a privacy policy when signing up to something online.

      • RJL 3.1.1

        Read the Guardian article.

        • weka 3.1.1.1

          I have read the article. Is there a reason you won’t answer a straight forward request for clarification?

          • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1.1

            Although lprent could answer more fully, I’d say yes all those large companies will have given permission to the NSA etc. But more than that, the corporates will have actually co-operated with the intelligence agencies to develop the applications and interfaces needed by the intelligence agencies to access every part of their databases and other systems.

            Google will no doubt have helped refine the intelligence agencies search strategies. (Google has previously been contracted to build proprietary search apps for military and government use).

            The corporates will have co-operated for many reasons, not the least of which that they didn’t want the intelligence agencies using ad-hoc “hacks” to get the information that they wanted, bad programming which might have inadvertently slowed down or even crashed the corporation’s commercial systems.

            btw when you look at news stories describing how the Chinese Government has previously blocked GMAIL in their country…I guess they figured this stuff out some time back.

            • weka 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Thanks CV. I had taken the bit quoted in the post above about the companies denying knowledge at face value. I guess they’re lying then.

              • Colonial Viper

                it’s absolutely likely that only a couple of dozen people inside each of these companies has any exposure whatsoever to the work which has been done. And even then, they may have no idea that the work was done for an intelligence agency. Just another job from management refining a new set of database administrative tools.

                As an aside, Russia Today reports that senior executives from Google, Amazon, etc are a key part of the Bilderberg meetings. And that both the UK Tories and UK Labour have representatives there.

            • ghostrider888 3.1.1.1.1.2

              you guys (and gals) could be watching The Mechanic (for free on 2) in the ads. 😉

              there was a former Drone Pilot, Brandon Bryant on the News; 1626 documented ‘kills’ with a diploma to verify them.
              http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2249252/Brandon-Bryant-Drone-operator-followed-orders-shoot-child–decided-quit.html

          • joe90 3.1.1.1.2

            Denials galore.

            http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57588337-38/no-evidence-of-nsas-direct-access-to-tech-companies/

            The National Security Agency has not obtained direct access to the systems of Apple, Google, Facebook, and other major Internet companies, CNET has learned.

            Recent reports in the Washington Post and the Guardian claimed a classified program called PRISM grants “intelligence services direct access to the companies’ servers” and that “from inside a company’s data stream the NSA is capable of pulling out anything it likes.”

            Those reports are incorrect and appear to be based on a misreading of a leaked Powerpoint document, according to a former government official who is intimately familiar with this process of data acquisition and spoke today on condition of anonymity.

            “It’s not as described in the histrionics in the Washington Post or the Guardian,” the person said. “None of it’s true. It’s a very formalized legal process that companies are obliged to do.”

            http://techcrunch.com/2013/06/07/in-response-to-prism-anonymous-leaks-classified-dod-documents/

            http://techcrunch.com/2013/06/06/google-facebook-apple-deny-participation-in-nsa-prism-program/

            http://googleblog.blogspot.co.nz/2013/06/what.html

            http://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10100828955847631

    • Murray Olsen 3.2

      I assume that anything sourced via MegaUpload would have gone through other servers anyway, so I doubt if this is why Kim attracted so much attention.

  4. weka 4

    If you’ve got nothing to hide you have nothing to fear.

    /sarc

  5. Jacobin 5

    Wow. Just wow. The worst that privacy advocates have been alleging for years, particularly Glenn Greenwald who has often stood out like a lone pariah, turns out to be true and more.

    All the more reason we need to get our own GCSB house in order/investigations need to be cleaner than they have been

    • Murray Olsen 5.1

      We need to abolish the GCSB. They are an American/British intelligence agency, staffed by and paid for by Kiwis. This is one case where I support economic austerity. The SIS can go as well.

  6. joe90 6

    So who’s going to stop voluntarily handing over their personal information because their service provider might be legally obliged to hand it over to those who request it?.

    • weka 6.1

      The way I read it, it’s not about a company legally handing over information. It’s about the NSA having free access to those companies’ databases.

        • weka 6.1.1.1

          That doesn’t address my point.

          This was interesting though –

          5. The information the NSA is collecting is metadata, not content (like a wiretap), and not account names. Uncovering personally identifiable information would require separate warrants to do so. This was a pattern analysis, not really mass surveillance as we traditionally understand it. Anyone who calls this a “wiretap” is probably stupid or didn’t read the order.

          That is different from the Guardian is saying.

          • karol 6.1.1.1.1

            This is looking like the “Thin Thread” that I posted about a couple of weeks back. It is a metadata gathering programme that the GCSB supposedly trialed for the NSA:

            William Binney, a whistle blower from the US NSA (National Security Agency) claims that a surveillance device, Thin Thread was sent to spy agencies in places like NZ, Canada,, Australia, Germany and the UK in 2000-2001 for testing. According to author Tim Shorrock, ThinThread monitors the meta data of phone, internet and email communications, at first masking the identities of the participants in the communications. It only reveals these identities when the spies decide they are concerned enough to apply for a warrant.

            • freedom 6.1.1.1.1.1

              The NSA simply use whatever they want. The metadata collected with PRISM is most likely used in conjunction with other [fascist] tools such as ThinThread to create whatever they require, to do whatever they want. This admission though, is a smokescreen at best.

              Folk may wish to pause and reflect on this ‘forced’ declaration. What does it really mean in the wider context of the ugly hate machine the US has become. The NSA would by no means be the most extreme of US agencies involved. It has been widely discussed that since 9-11 over 1000 new Agencies have been added to the US Administration’s lexicon of acronyms. Since 2002, mostly throughout Virginia, there has been a massive ongoing construction programme, where some very large compounds have been planted deep into some very out of the way places. Some are said to challenge Langley for sheer scale of construction. Though unlike Langley many of these compounds are completely anonymous. These enormous glass and concrete bunkers, styled with a ‘YOU THERE! look away from here!’ attention to detail, are said to collectively house the biggest threat on the planet, to our privacy our security and our democracy.

              It is suspected the majority are officially assigned to assisting with Defense, The War on Terror and National Security. As far as the US is concerned, that ‘National Security’ bit involves controlling enslaving or simply destroying any bits of Earth that have the temerity to disagree with what it is doing. These largely unknown agencies all act under an umbrella yielded by DHS jurisdiction, thus are exempt from full public disclosure as to purpose budget and accountability. It sure is a wonderful world we are leaving the children.

        • joe90 6.1.1.2

          To me it appears that they have free access because congress legislated that they can.

          edit: The full court ruling.

          http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2013/jun/06/verizon-telephone-data-court-order

          • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.2.1

            Even totalitarian states need a legal framework to operate in.

            And which Bill was that authorising this?

            And isn’t it interesting that a company with the might and size of Google etc didn’t block it at every turn.

            Bye bye US constitution.

            • Poission 6.1.1.2.1.1

              tradeoff in exchange for your global information we will overlook your tax avoidance.

              • Colonial Viper

                Which we happen to know all about in the first place because we have the emails and phone recordings between you and your accountant. And you and your next prospective employer you are negotiating with. And you and your spouse. And you and your lover. And you and your ex.

                Good fun days.

                • Poission

                  Sergei Brin was given “temporary high security” clearance with regard to operation aurora.

                  There are suggestions also that a substantial part of the google gathering information (under the guise of google maps) was imparted to other parties (sic) prior to being destroyed.

          • joe90 6.1.1.2.2

            Bye bye US constitution.

            I think this is the end run around the fourth.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smith_v._Maryland

            • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.2.2.1

              Ahhhh thanks. So the same principle would apply to email addresses, instant messaging user names, login IDs and passwords, any pin verification, addresses on letters you write etc.

  7. the central scutinizer 7

    https://www.eff.org/

  8. ghostrider888 8

    …now, who were those sociologist prophets who predicted The Technological Society would witness the end of democracy.hmmm.

  9. Bill 9

    Maybe ‘faceleft’ or similar networking sites are the answer for those of a political persuasion? Of course, since they don’t sell your data or carry advertising, they do look to charge a small monthly subscription. And I’m only putting this here because maybe you are one of the people who ‘should’ take a closer look and consider it as a much safer alternative to the likes of facebook etc. Here’s a link to the FAQ page for those who might be interested http://www.zsocial.org/help

    My personal take is that, given its currently limited size, that it could be a valuable resource for any pre-existing groups that use internet based organising or communication tools.

    Anyways….

  10. xtasy 10

    To all those that may be “surprised”, I am not, and I have warned before of what is actually going on already with Facebook, Twitter, Google and others very actively harvesting your own info, including user profiles, your emails, your names and more. This is not a joke, it is real, and it is done so for “advertising purposes”, and if you look more closely at what you click and sign when registering for various services, you condone to be tracked and traced day in and out.

    So the NSA does spy on the services you use, big deal.

    You should have known this from the start, before using Facebook and allowing their cookies and else to connect to your browser and follow you, yes follow you, onto other websites, and onto whatever you click. The same applies to the Standard, and this site is being tracked by the ones I just mentioned constantly, same as most websites and forums.

    Try to get some Google blocking software and others, and then you will see your browser slowing down, as it has already been compromised, to only function if you allow all the track and spyware to follow you. If you block it, they try to slow your usage.

    That is capitalism and control on the web now. So dream of the freedom of the web, it is all commercialised, like the rest of this society and system. Dream on, dream on about “freedom”!

    The NSA have it so easy, and they are everywhere, so mind your language and comments, as they will take note and maybe get back at you, that is while we have a government so friendly with Washington and Hollywood, right?!

    • kiwicommie 10.1

      *shrug* They will learn less reading my mail than talking to me, also most users (like myself) these days create personas which are totally different to what they believe in real life. Then there are people just out to troll. Create useless information, then they have more to sift through. 😉

      • xtasy 10.1.1

        kiwicommie

        Every computer has its own identifiable number. So people may use different “personas” or profiles in social media and other communications, but that does not mean they cannot be identified. Most people have their own laptop, desktop or other computers, and they all are identifiable.

        And every website and function on a website that is clicked, does get recorded and can be tracked.

        Naturally most tracked and gathered information is only used for collecting browsing behaviour and sold encoded to advertisers, but if an agency like the NSA or GCSB takes an interest that goes deeper into “suspicious” or “undesirable” browsing behaviour, then they will have means to find out more about persons.

        There will always be limits to what they can do, and some software can limit what can be tracked and traced, but the way things are going certainly give sufficient reasons to be highly concerned.

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    The Government’s U-turn on their shambolic attempt to collect private client data from social services is an embarrassment for a senior Minister, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “After months of criticism and mismanagement, the Government has finally cut ...
    3 hours ago
  • Overloaded hospitals reach crisis point
      The country’s hospitals have reached breaking point with some hospitals discharging patients to free up bed space and patients with serious injuries having to wait hours to be seen by a doctor, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   ...
    3 hours ago
  • National fails on critical school building needs
    Students are paying the price of the Government’s failure to invest fast enough in school buildings to keep pace with Auckland’s increasing population, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Parents should lay the blame for their children having to put up ...
    9 hours ago
  • Tipping culture is not welcome in NZ
    Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett’s comments about tipping have been in the news and have sparked off a series of furious discussions about tipping in Aotearoa. From our point of view, tipping every time you’re provided a service is a ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 day ago
  • Mental Health a huge cost for Police
      The cost of dealing with mental health incidents for our police was a staggering $36.7 million which shows just why we need Labour’s fresh approach on Mental Health, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.   “Police now ...
    1 day ago
  • Grant Robertson: Speech to Otago-Southland Employers Association
    Thanks to the Otago Southland Employers Association and Virginia for hosting me this evening.  It is always a pleasure to come back to the city and region that shaped who I am as a person. I believe that growing up ...
    2 days ago
  • Renting a home in the Wild West
    It can be tough renting a place to live, and it could be about to get tougher. Radio NZ is reporting that the American Rentberry app wants to start operating in New Zealand. Rentberry allows landlords to play perspective tenants ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    2 days ago
  • Free West Papua leader in Aotearoa
    Last week I hosted Free West Papua leader Benny Wenda at Parliament and travelled with him to a number of important events. Benny is spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua and lives in exile in England. 14 ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    4 days ago
  • Nats unprepared for record immigration
    National’s under-investment in housing, public services, and infrastructure means New Zealand is literally running out of beds for the record number of new migrants, says Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. ...
    5 days ago
  • Labour opposes Ports of Auckland sale
    Labour would strongly oppose the sell-off of the Ports of Auckland to fix a short term cash crisis caused by the Government blocking the city’s requests for new ways to fund infrastructure, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. “National ...
    1 week ago
  • Workers pay the price of Silver Fern’s Fairton closure
    The threatened closure of Silver Fern Farms’ Fairton Plant in Ashburton raises serious questions about the Government’s support of the sale of half of the company to a foreign company, when it appears this outcome may have been inevitable, says ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s answer to the housing crisis: One new affordable house per 100 new Aucklanders
    National’s fudge of a housing plan will make Auckland even more of a speculators’ paradise, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    1 week ago
  • Government can’t be trusted with private data
    The independent review of the Ministry of Social Development’s data breach in April has shown, once again, that the Ministry cannot be trusted with private client information, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “The investigation by former Deloitte chairman ...
    1 week ago
  • Another crisis, another half-baked National plan
    The National Party may have finally woken up to the teacher supply crisis facing our schools but their latest half-baked, rushed announcement falls well short of the mark in terms of what’s required, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    1 week ago
  • Nats: Don’t bite the hand that feeds you
    Alfred Ngaro’s recent comments have exposed the Government’s ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you’ approach, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    1 week ago
  • Breaking news – National admits there’s a housing crisis
    National finally admits there’s a housing crisis, but today’s belated announcement is simply not a credible response to the problem it’s been in denial about for so long, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “National can’t now credibly claim ...
    1 week ago
  • Nats lay the ground for housing bust
    Goldman Sachs’ warning that New Zealand has the developed world’s most over-priced housing market, with a 40 per cent chance of a bust within two years, shows the consequences of National’s nine years of housing neglect, says Labour Housing spokesperson ...
    1 week ago
  • Well they would say that, wouldn’t they?
    Property investors’ lobby groups have been up in arms this week about Labour and Green parties’ plans to close tax loopholes and fix the housing market. That’s probably a good thing. Like an investor in any other sector, they expect ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    1 week ago
  • Alfred Ngaro reflects National’s culture of silencing debate
    Image from Getty Images Community groups must be free to advocate for the people they serve. It’s these people who see first-hand if ideas dreamt up in Wellington actually work on the ground. It’s essential that they can speak freely ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Bill English must reassure community organisations
    The Prime Minister must do more to reassure community organisations after Cabinet Minister Alfred Ngaro's apparent threats to their funding if they criticise government policy which has left a born-to-rule perception amongst many, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Alfred Ngaro ...
    1 week ago
  • Extremism and its discontents
    Another scar on global democracy appeared recently, this time in Germany.It seems that the number of soldiers on duty with extremist political leanings has become a concern to the military leadership in that country. Soldiers were found openly possessing ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    1 week ago
  • Government’s suicide approach disappoints
    Mike King’s sudden departure from the Government’s suicide prevention panel, amid claims the Government’s approach is ‘deeply flawed’, is further evidence National is failing on mental health, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern. “Mental health is reaching crisis point in ...
    1 week ago
  • National backs speculators, fails first home buyers
    National is showing its true colours and backing speculators who are driving first home buyers out of the market, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “By defending a $150m a year hand-out to property speculators, Bill English is turning his back ...
    1 week ago
  • More oversight by Children’s Commissioner needed
    More funding and more independence is required for the Children’s Commissioner to function more effectively in the best interests of Kiwi kids in State care, says Labour’s spokesperson for children Jacinda Ardern. ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour to end tax breaks for speculators; invest in warm, healthy homes
    Labour will shut down tax breaks for speculators and use the savings to help make 600,000 homes warmer and healthier over the next ten years, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “It’s time for fresh thinking to tackle the ...
    1 week ago
  • Health of young people a priority for Labour
    Labour will ensure all young people have access to a range of health care services on-site at their local secondary school, says Labour’s deputy leader Jacinda Ardern. “Our policy will see School Based Health Services extended to all public secondary ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ratifying the TPPA makes no sense
    The recent high-fiving between the government and agricultural exporters over ratification of the TPPA (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement) is empty gesture politics in an election year. Ratification by New Zealand means nothing. New Zealand law changes are not implemented unless the ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    2 weeks ago
  • NIWA report proves National’s trickery re swimmable rivers
    National have a slacker standard for swimmable rivers than was the case prior to their recent so-called Clean Water amendment to the National Policy Statement (NPS), says Labour’s Water spokesperson David Parker. “The table 11 on page 25 of the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • MPS shows new approach needed on housing
    The Reserve Bank’s latest Monetary Policy Statement provides further evidence that only a change in government will start to fix the housing crisis, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “It is more evident than ever that only a Labour-led government ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fresh approach on mental health
    Labour will introduce a pilot scheme of specialist mental health teams across the country in government to ensure swifter and more effective treatment for those who need urgent help, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little. “Mental health is in crisis. It ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Sallies back Labour’s plan for affordable homes
    The country’s most respected social agency has endorsed Labour’s KiwiBuild plan to build homes that families can afford to buy, and delivered a withering assessment of the National Government’s housing record, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Education is for everyone, not just the elite
    Proposals by the National Party to ration access to higher education will once again make it a privilege only available to the elite, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Speaking at the Education Select Committee, Maurice Williamson let the National ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Cancer support changes far too little, certainly late
    Anne Tolley’s belated backtrack to finally allow Jobseeker clients suffering from cancer to submit only one medical certificate to prove their illness fails to adequately provide temporary support for people too sick to work, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kids must come first in enrolment debate
    The best interests of children should be the major driver of any change to policies around initial school enrolments, not cost cutting or administrative simplicity, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.   “The introduction of school cohort entry is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Feed the Kids
    While in Whangarei last week, I had the pleasure of meeting Buddhi Manta from the Hare Krishna movement whose cafe is making lunch for some schools in Whangarei. His group have been feeding up to 1,000 primary school kids at local ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • DHBs’ big budget blowout
    New Zealand’s District Health Boards are now facing a budget deficit of nearly $90 million dollars, a significant blowout on what was forecast, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   Labour believes health funding must grow to avoid further cuts ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt plays catch up on drug funding
    The Government's backdown on Pharmac is welcomed because previous rhetoric around the agency being adequately funded was just nonsense, says Labour's Health spokesperson David Clark. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to build affordable homes in Hamilton
    Labour will build 200 affordable KiwiBuild houses and state houses on unused government-owned land as the first steps in our plan to fix Hamilton’s housing crisis, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “We will build new houses to replace ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Mental Health waiting times a growing concern
    There is new evidence that the Mental Health system is under increasing strain with waiting times for young people to be seen by mental health and addiction services lengthening says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   “Following yesterday’s seat of ...
    3 weeks ago
  • More beneficiaries heading to jail, fewer to study
    The latest quarterly benefit figures show a rising number of beneficiaries have left the benefit because they have gone to prison, while fewer are going into study, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “According to recent figures, in the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Analyst charts failure of National’s housing policy
    Respected analyst Rodney Dickens has published a devastating critique of National’s housing policy, and says Labour’s policies give more hope, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Mr Dickens shows since the signing of the Auckland Housing Accord in 2013 the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Cost of Living increases hit those with least the hardest
    Beneficiaries, superannuitants and people on the lowest incomes continue to bear the brunt of higher inflation, according to the latest data from Statistics NZ, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Since National came to office (December 2008) inflation for those ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Pike River Mine families deserve more
    The Government must be more open and honest about the Pike River Mine says Dunedin South’s  Labour MP Clare Curran.   “It’s just wrong that the Commerce Select Committee has refused a Labour Party request to re-open its investigation ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government goalposts taken off the field
    The Government’s decision to dump the Better Public Service (BPS) Target to Reduce Reoffending by 25 per cent by 2017 shows when it comes to measuring their progress the National Government hasn’t just shifted the goalposts, but has taken the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Last call of the kea?
    Last weekend, I attended the first ever Kea Konvention jointly organised by the Kea Conservation Trust and Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand. It was a power-packed weekend full of presentations by scientists, volunteers and NGOS working to raise awareness of this ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    3 weeks ago