Saturday, February 21, 2015

Slightly Used SIM Card For Sale

Updated 2/22/15 at 9 a.m.

It's hard for me to keep track of how many ways the US government violates our privacy, our civil rights and the law in its all consuming drive to know everything there is to know about everybody -- because, you know, terrorists.

Another Edward Snowden leak of documents, written about by Jeremy Scahill and Josh Begley in The Intercept, explains how our National Security Agency and British intelligence illegally hacked into private emails to find out who, at the private companies that make SIM cards, knew about how they are encrypted and how they are delivered to cell phone makers, then stalked those people, illegally. The NSA and the British then intercepted, illegally, the transfer of SIM card encryption codes from their all their makers to all the cell phone companies, all over the world.

SIM cards are what identify an individual phone to a cell phone company, and they also hold the key -- the numerical deciphering code -- to unlocking the encrypted data that goes out over the cell phone networks, which means our phone conversations, texts, and everything else, and for many people it now includes every place they visit on the internet. Using automatic programs, the government eavesdrops on all of us and then stores all our conversations and texts and everything else, and, according to the leaked documents, even sets up huge searchable databases of it all. And we pay for it. We don't want them to do it, and they do it anyway.

As Scahill and Begley write:

With these stolen encryption keys, intelligence agencies can monitor mobile communications without seeking or receiving approval from telecom companies and foreign governments. Possessing the keys also sidesteps the need to get a warrant or a wiretap, while leaving no trace on the wireless provider’s network that the communications were intercepted. Bulk key theft additionally enables the intelligence agencies to unlock any previously encrypted communications they had already intercepted, but did not yet have the ability to decrypt.

The key word here is "theft." Our government thinks nothing of breaking the law, and while it self righteously condemns other countries for what are in comparison minor infractions, and continues to selectively prosecute and imprison hunreds of thousand of us. Recall that not one banker or Wall Street operative has been prosecuted for gambling practices that often fell outside the law and brought down the world economy causing several million Americans to lose their homes and causing untold misery to working people worldwide that continues. Instead our elected officials hobnob with the criminals and accept their campaign bribes.

Every leaked document that's been released reveals that our government has gone much farther than we knew about, that they've been much more intrusive and acted much more illegally. Whenever they've been asked they lied about it, and there's more to come. Journalists at the Intercept and the other outlets provided with the Snowden documents are still going through it, and those docements don't cover everything our government does. There's much more than we know about. When I was a reporter I used to say that I figured I found out about roughly half of what happened, and of that half I could prove half of it well enough to get it in the paper.

So why? It's not terrorism. That's not even a threat, and they know how to stop that. Stop causing it.

Nowhere, not even China, can any country break out of the economic doldrums, which means more social unrest is coming. Add to that global warming and the social upheavals it will cause. We already live in a surveillance state. Many of the elements for instituting a police state are in place. The ruling class is ready.

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