31 October 2013

Police attack student protest


Students protesting against education cuts were attacked by police in Melbourne on Wednesday. Seven were arrested during the demonstration. Sarah Garnham, spokesperson for the Victorian Education Action Network which organised the rally, told Red Flag:

“Victoria Police clearly had a premeditated agenda of attacking our peaceful protest. They came out of nowhere. Riot cops moved in on the crowd and pulled people out. One of the first people they arrested, Lauren Stevenson, was unconscious as they pulled her towards the paddy wagon. We attempted to get an ambulance to her, but police said an ambulance would not be allowed to attend because she was under arrest. So they put her in the paddy wagon unconscious and drove away.”

Among those arrested was Jay Wymarra, the 2014 First Nations Officer at the La Trobe student union. Garnham says that his arrest was no coincidence: “Organisers of the protest believe this is in accordance with the racial discrimination that is well known in Victoria Police; they regularly harass and arrest indigenous people.”
Wymarra spoke to Red Flag after his release from police custody, saying: “Under no circumstances should any student stand for this kind of hostile reaction from the state. No student should have to bear the brunt of some bureaucrat’s decision to slash nearly $3 billion out of education. This is our education. The only ones who should be defining it is us and our educators and of course our unions.”

Jessica Lenehan, recently elected Education Officer at La Trobe University and an activist in the La Trobe Socialist Alternative student club, was also at the rally. La Trobe students had a particular incentive to join the anti-cuts protest today. Their university administration has just announced devastating cutbacks of $65 million. Lenehan told Red Flag:

“We had a peaceful protest. After starting at Parliament House we marched to Liberal Party headquarters. While we were there we threw a couple of shoes at the building, we chalked some slogans on the ground. Nothing violent. But at a certain point the police clearly decided this was unacceptable, and marched through shoving people out of the way, and made a couple of arrests.

“They dragged one woman away. They shoved her into a police van, and another man was arrested. After that the police again and again charged the crowd. They dragged people away, they beat people up. It was just an incredibly brutal display.

“Accusations of protester violence from the police are ludicrous. We told them what our intentions were. We told them we were marching to Liberal headquarters. We had informed them about shoes being thrown at the building. It’s just ridiculous, especially given there were so many police there. Many times more than were necessary for the protest. They were deliberately trying to intimidate people out of protesting.”

Declan Murphy, recently elected Education Officer at Monash Student Association, explained how the police attacks continued even after demonstrators had left Liberal Party headquarters:
“Some of us decided to march down to East Melbourne police station to make a formal complaint. The police told us we were allowed to do this. Nonetheless on the way down the police assaulted the demonstration four additional times. I think a further four people were arrested. They were clearly targeting non-white people and women who happened to find themselves on the fringes of the demonstration.
“Then, on Swanston Street, after we’d decided not to continue marching on to East Melbourne police station and we were coming up to Trades Hall, they assaulted the rally again and arrested another person. It was a clear and despicable attempt by the police, but we will not be intimidated and we’ll keep protesting both for our democratic right to demonstrate and for a fair and equitable education system.

“People are a bit shocked by the disproportionate response of the police but are also quite defiant. We just had a post rally meeting where we got together and decided how we’re going to respond as a collective campaign. The clear vibe was that there would be more demonstrations. We’re not going to put up with attempts by police to shut us down.”

redflag.org.au  30 Oct 2013

Chairman, two executives of Japan's Mizuho to resign over loans to organised crime

Mizhuo Financial CEO  Yasuhiro Sato
MIZUHO Financial Group said Monday the chairman of its banking business and two other top executives will resign over the Japanese lender's failure to crack down on loans to organised crime.

Mizuho said its president, Yasuhiro Sato, will give up six months of pay but remain at his post. The bank also is appointing Tatsuo Kainaka, a former prosecutor and Supreme Court judge with a reputation for toughness, to be its chief compliance officer.
Mr Sato and other top executives bowed deeply in apology - such gestures are a familiar sight in corporate Japan.

Besides the exit of Mizuho Bank chairman Takashi Tsukamoto, Mizuho's top compliance officer and its risk management director will resign on November 1. Dozens of Mizuho employees face salary cuts. Mr Tsukamoto is also chairman of Mizuho Financial Group and retained that position.

"We caused a great deal of trouble and I want to express my deepest apologies," Mr Sato said.

"I am aware there are various opinions about this, but this is what was decided in this case," he said when asked if the penalties were too weak.

An outside panel reported Monday that its probe found Mizuho lax in cleaning up more than 200 million yen ($2.14 million) in lending, mostly auto loans, to clients associated with "anti-social" elements, a byword for organised crime.

Mizuho FinancialMizuho, Japan's No. 2 bank by assets, failed to do what was expected in reducing and preventing mob-related loans, the panel said, though it concluded the bank had not engaged in a deliberate cover-up.

The panel headed by former judge Hideki Nakagome, who also led an investigation into accounting fraud at camera and medical equipment maker Olympus, called the lending "captive loans" acquired when Mizuho bought consumer finance company Orient Corp.

Senior Mizuho executives neglected to clean up the loans after discovering them in early 2011. Soon after, Mizuho's management became preoccupied with ATM malfunctions triggered by an influx of donations for victims of the 2011 tsunami disaster.

Mizuho presented a plan for an overhaul to the Financial Services Agency, which last month demanded that the bank devise a strategy for "improvements" to its lending business.

The bank has pledged to end the loans, step up anti-mob screening of incoming business, tighten corporate governance and improve internal awareness about preventing dealings with those linked to organized crime.

The troubles at Mizuho underscore the difficulties financial companies confront in avoiding dealings with Japanese gangs, known as "yakuza." They are entrenched in many areas of the economy despite efforts to freeze them out of the financial system.

But the panel also faulted Mizuho's corporate governance, a perennial problem highlighted by a stream of scandals over negligence, fraud and other troubles at some of Japan's most elite companies.
In a governance report issued July 1, Mizuho outlined a code of conduct that abjures any influence or dealings with "anti-social elements."

The bank pledged to "oppose firmly the activities of any anti-social elements that threaten the rule of law, public order and safety" and to ensure compliance with its code of conduct.

Finance Minister Taro Aso said he needed to learn more details about the case before commenting.

news.com.au  28 Oct 2013

Bank fraud is NOT only limited to Japan.

Australia's 'Big Four' banks are involved in a nationwide fraud, but  this news is NOT reported by the corporate media.

American network NBC publishes map showing the whole of Australia is on fire. Oops

And in other news, 98 per cent of Americans have been declared effectively braindead.

AMERICA, the nation which gave the world 307 Nobel laureates, has today shown that its media is about as smart as one of its famously dopey teen beauty pageant contestants. 
In a bizarre map produced by NBC News, pretty much the whole of Australia is depicted as being ablaze this week.

You might have thought the bushfires of the past week have been confined largely to New South Wales, but noooo. Not according to NBC they're not.

According to NBC, pretty much the entire country is on fire, including vast swathes of Cape York, the entire Darwin region, and vast portions of Western Australia's Great Sandy Desert where you'd be lucky to find two blades of grass to rub together.

Now, it turns out there may be an explanation for what appears to be a major cartographical catastrophe.

In all likelihood, NBC has taken the image from a Geoscience Australia product called Sentinel. Sentinel is a national bushfire monitoring system which uses satellite data to enable emergency service managers and other users to identify fire locations across Australia.

At any given time, the map will show hazard reduction burns, bushfires which pose no threat to life or property, plus of course much more serious bushfires like the ones we've seen this week.

That's the mistake which NBC appears to have made. They've taken every fire on the Sentinel map and assumed they are all part of the current emergency.

As NBC Foreign Producer Cheryll Simpson admitted overnight, and we think she's a bloody good sport for doing so:

Anthony Sharwood @antsharwood
America tries to explain Aussie bushfires and TOTALLY FAILS! With bonus map which is pure gold

Cheryll Simpson         @Cheryllasimpson
@antsharwood ughhhh, was kinda funny though - (covers eyes with hands)

NBC has also more or less assumed that the whole of Australia is NSW, which is disturbing given the network spent pretty much the whole of the Sydney Olympics camped on the Opera House steps. You'd think they'd have picked up a little Australian geography during their extended stay.

Then again, perhaps they thought they were in Austria all along. As anyone who watched the London Olympics would know, NBC has ongoing issues with working out which country is which.

Read the bit at the bottom. Who knew we had all those mountains, eh? On the positive side, at least the ski seasons will be bett

Or maybe all those kangaroos hopping down George Street left them a little muddled or something.

news.com.au  28 Oct 2013

And these are supposed to be trusted news sources?

Also, the fires were lit by arsonists, nothing to do with the Global Warming, F.U.D. (Fear Uncertainty Doubt) factor.

Aussies hacked into US government computers: court

A global gang of hackers, including two Australians, broke into NASA, US Army and the US Missile Defence Agency's computer systems and stole "massive amounts of confidential data", US authorities allege.

The extent of the hackers' alleged intrusions was revealed on Monday (US time) in a 22-page indictment handed down by a grand jury in New Jersey against 28-year-old Englishman Lauri Love.
Love was arrested at his home in Stradishall, England, on Friday and has been charged with accessing a US department or agency computer without authorisation.

Ongoing investigation: Two Australians, a Brit and a Swede are alleged to have hacked into US government computer systems.
The indictment accuses Love of working with one Swedish and two Australian co-conspirators to hack into thousands of computer networks and steal confidential information.

"As part of their alleged scheme, they stole military data and personal identifying information belonging to servicemen and women," US Attorney Paul J Fishman said.

"Such conduct endangers the security of our country and is an affront to those who serve."

US authorities declined to discuss the identities of the two Australians and the Swede or whether they had been arrested or will be arrested and extradited to the US.

In Love's indictment the two Australians are referred to as Co-conspirator 1 (CC-1) and Co-conspirator 2 (CC-2). CC-1 resided "in or near" NSW and CC-2 resided "in or near Australia", according to the indictment.

"This is still an ongoing investigation and there is really not more information on the public record to speak about it," said Rebekah Carmichael, spokeswoman for the US Attorney's Office.

It is alleged Love and his co-conspirators sought out and then hacked thousands of computer systems.
Once inside compromised networks they placed hidden "shells" or "back doors" within the networks, allowing them to return at a later date and steal confidential data, authorities said.

The indictment includes alleged online conversations the hackers had on what they believed were secure chat forums.

In one conversation after a NASA database was accessed in July, Love allegedly wrote: "we own nasa". CC-2 replied: "supa".

Love allegedly boasted they had "10 subdomains of nasa.gov" and "I think we can do some hilarious stuff with it".

But, CC-2, mindful of not getting caught, allegedly wrote: "but server must have no link to you or us when done we kill it".

After hacking the Missile Defence Agency in October last year, Love pasted into a chat log samples of stolen data, including account user names, email addresses and telephone numbers of various individuals, authorities allege.

Prosecutors allege the hackers found vulnerabilities in structured query language, or SQL, databases to infiltrate US government computer networks. They also allegedly exploited vulnerabilities in a web application platform US agencies used known as Coldfusion.

If convicted, Love faces a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison.

smh.com.au 29 Oct 2013

So the hackers actually 'stole' the information. Did they really?

You said what? Woman says Optus employee compared insurance claim to having a vagina

A WOMAN has described how a male Optus employee allegedly told her that getting her phone screen fixed was as likely as him having a vagina. 

When the female customer, who requested only to be referred to as Rebecca, cracked her iPhone screen, she was referred by Apple to her nearest Optus store and told the repairs might be covered by her Optus insurance.

But when Rebecca, 25, walked into a suburban Optus store and asked about the repairs, she claims the salesman laughed at her.

When she asked why, the employee allegedly responded that Optus replacing the screen was about as likely as him having a vagina, causing other male staff members to laugh.

"I pretty much cried, I was so over the whole situation and then to be treated like that just wasn't right," Rebecca told the Herald Sun.

"I felt demeaned by the entire situation."

Rebecca aired her grievances on the Optus Facebook page, prompting a brief response from the telco.
But the complaint has since been removed.

"Obviously (smashing your phone) is an annoying situation, but I was just irate after the way they handled it," Rebecca said.

"It just seemed like no-one wanted to help."

The 25-year old said the incident had made her rethink being with the network.

When contacted for comment, Optus said they had been in contact with the customer and were taking the matter very seriously.

An investigation is underway.

It is not the first time Rebecca has had issues when dealing with staff in relation to her Optus service.

She claims she was constantly contacted by one of the employees at an independent retailer who changed her phone number over from Telstra to the Optus network.

"He would ask if I wanted to go to a party, or for coffee or if I'd like a lift home. I never responded to any of them and eventually he got the picture, but I certainly didn't think it was acceptable to be harassed by a member of staff," Rebecca said.

news.com.au  30 Oct 2013

A serious issue? Really?

Not compared to how the power companies conned / bullied / threatened 2 million Victorians into installing (carcinogenic?) smart meters.

Another win for the corporatocracy keeping the 'sheeple' in he dark.

Adobe hack: 38m users impacted, Photoshop source code also stolen

 Adobe launched Creative Cloud in April 2012. More than 38 million customers' details are now known to have been accessed in recent hack.

The recent data breach at Adobe that exposed user account information and prompted a flurry of password reset emails impacted at least 38 million users, the company now says.

It also appears the already massive source code heist included the company's Photoshop family of graphical design software in addition to Reader and Acrobat.

In a breach first revealed on October 3, Adobe said hackers had stolen nearly 3 million encrypted customer credit card records, as well as login data for an undetermined number of user accounts.
At the time, a massive trove of stolen Adobe account data viewed by KrebsOnSecurity indicated that – in addition to the credit card records – tens of millions of user accounts across various Adobe online properties may have been compromised in the break-in. It was difficult to fully examine many of the files on the hackers' server housing the stolen source because many of the directories were password protected, and Adobe was reluctant to speculate on the total number of users potentially impacted.

But just this past weekend, hacker forum AnonNews.org posted a huge file called "users.tar.gz" that appears to include more than 150 million username and hashed password pairs taken from Adobe.

The 3.8 gigabyte file looks to be the same one Hold Security chief information security officer Alex Holden and I found on the server with the other data stolen from Adobe.

Adobe spokesperson Heather Edell said the company has just completed a campaign to contact all existing users whose login and encrypted password were stolen, urging those users to reset them. She said Adobe has no indication that there has been any unauthorised activity on any Adobe ID involved in the incident.

"So far, our investigation has confirmed that the attackers obtained access to Adobe IDs and encrypted passwords for approximately 38 million active users," Edell said. "We have completed email notification of these users. We also have reset the passwords for all Adobe IDs with valid, encrypted passwords that we believe were involved in the incident - regardless of whether those users are active or not."

Edell said the company believes the attackers also obtained access to many invalid IDs, inactive IDs, IDs with invalid encrypted passwords, and test account data. "We are still in the process of investigating the number of inactive, invalid and test accounts involved in the incident," she wrote in an email. "Our notification to inactive users is ongoing."

Part of the Adobe breach involved the theft of source code for Adobe Acrobat and Reader, as well as its ColdFusion web application platform. Among the cache was a 2.56 GB-sized file called "ph1.tar.gz", but KrebsOnSecurity and Hold Security were unable to crack the password on the archive. Over this past weekend, AnonNews.org posted a file by the same name and size that was not password protected, and appeared to be source code for Adobe Photoshop.

Asked about the AnonNews posting's similarities to the leaked source code troves discovered by KrebsOnSecurity in late September, Adobe's Edell said indeed  it appears the intruders got at least some of the Photoshop source code. In both cases, Adobe said it contacted the sites hosting the data linked to from the AnonNews postings and had the information taken down.

"Our investigation to date indicates that a portion of Photoshop source code was accessed by the attackers as part of the incident Adobe publicly disclosed on October 3," Edell wrote.

Free credit monitoring

Adobe has offered a year's worth of credit monitoring to customers whose encrypted credit card data was stolen in the breach. As it happens, Adobe's offering comes through Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus and a company that is still reeling from a security breach in which it was tricked into selling consumer records directly to an online identity theft service.

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive involves whether readers should take advantage of credit monitoring services, particularly those offered for free by the major credit bureaus in response to some breach. My response is usually that free credit monitoring generally can't hurt, as long as you're not automatically signed up for a paid monitoring service after the free period expires. Monitoring especially makes sense if you've been the victim of ID theft before.

But bear in mind that having your credit card information stolen is not the same thing as identity theft which generally involves the fraudulent opening of new accounts in your name. Some types of ID theft involve the creation of synthetic identities using parts of your personal information combined with some aspects that are not yours. Credit monitoring services may have a hard time detecting these types of accounts.

In the US, a big part of monitoring your credit involves checking your credit file for oddities and errors. US consumers are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three major bureaus once per year, via annualcreditreport.com. That means that roughly every four months, Americans should be able to get an updated copy of their credit report from one of the three bureaus (calendar reminders come in handy here).

 theage.com.au 30 Oct 2013

 Some comments posted on the news site:

Well a lot of people saw this coming. Hackers were always going to go after the latest Adobe software to pirate it, and Adobe gave them the extra cherry on top with a nicely wrapped collection of credit card information. Well done.
Commenter Alex Location Melbourne Date and time October 30, 2013, 11:03AM
Commonwealth Bank cancelled my corporate credit card as it was being used for the Adobe cloud service and pointed out it had been 'breeched'. Had to re-register 20 services with new CC details.
If Adobe had ANY competition in the marketplace, they'd have gone broke a long, long time ago.
Commenter Simon Location Brisbane Date and time October 30, 2013, 3:37PM

29 October 2013

Police have access to your PC

There is some focus (by the corporate media) on external threats that pose a security risk to your online activities. 

Security treats are real from computer viruses, trojans, keyboard loggers back doors and other vulnerabilities or exploits.

Their consequences are real, from emptied out bank accounts to information ‘stolen’ from the user’s personal computer.

But are hackers and cyber criminals the only worries of our online lives?

Corpau has received information from a source on the strict condition of anonymity, not to divulge the source nor the geographical information of the source, as the implications are feared to effect the families of the concerned providing the information.

Quite simply put, the Australian police ‘force’ has access to your personal computer.

This is done via a remote access application at the police officer’s terminal using the targets public IP address, whether it be static or dynamic.

Briefly, an IP address is a form of identification in a numerical format that identifies your computer on the internet. In simple terms analogous to a street address in a telephone book.

Currently the IP is at version 4 (IPv4) with the numbers represented as  xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx, with an example of, with a possibility of 4.3 billion addresses.  Since the address space is running out, a new version IP version 6 (IPv6) is being implemented using 128bit instead of IPv4’s 32 bits. This allows the creation of 3.4 x 10^38, or one trillio-trillion-trillion devices to have a unique address. An example of an IPv6 address is 3ffe:1900:4545:3:200:f8ff:fe21:67cf.

If your IP address is static, it is the same throughout your connection to the internet irrespective of how many times the router is switched off or rebooted. If you have a dynamic address, the ISP (Internet Service Provider) issues your router or modem with a new public address every time.

The police have access to your PC with the remote application, being able to see and do anything you are able to do on your computer, from reading emails to accessing files.

How to remain anonymous online

The lengths to which you must go to remain anonymous online depend on whether you're trying to hide your tracks from your partner or the Pentagon.

Former US National Security Agency computer specialist Edward Snowden lifted the lid on just how extensively the US government and partners, such as Australia, are spying on us. You don't need to be a suspected terrorist for the spooks to trawl through your phone, SMS, browsing, email and chat records. Meanwhile, the US Patriot Act lets them search your email and cloud back-ups in data centres on US soil, or elsewhere if they are controlled by US companies.

(No secrets: Edward Snowden lifted the lid on US government snooping. Photo: WikiLeaks/AFP)

 You should always assume that someone, somewhere, is watching. Tricks for gaining a little privacy depend on whether you're worried about hiding from members of your household, your internet service provider (ISP) or the government.

Your web browser's ''private browsing'' mode deletes your history and temporary files such as cookies, but it doesn't stop your broadband modem or router logging the websites you visit. Your ISP can also see where you've been, so government agencies can too.

A proxy server offers an extra level of privacy by sending requests to websites on your behalf and sending back pages. The website doesn't know who you are and your ISP doesn't know which site you're visiting, making proxy servers a common way to bypass filtering.

The next level of security involves a virtual private network, or VPN, which can also bypass filtering.

VPNs encrypt all the internet traffic between your computer and the VPN provider. The encrypted link stops people snooping on your internet traffic when you're using a public Wi-Fi hotspot. Your ISP can't even see what you're doing, but it can tell you're using a VPN. There are many options available online for both paid and free VPN and proxy server providers. Unless you enable private browsing, your browser will still track your web history when using a VPN or proxy server. These tricks offer a certain level of anonymity but stubborn cookies, network metadata and even your computer's ''fingerprint'' - the specific characteristics of your machine and software - can still make it possible to identify you.

Using a VPN tricks websites into thinking you're located in the same place as the VPN server, so connecting to a US-based VPN often lets you bluff your way into US-only video services such as Hulu. It might not be able to tell you're in Australia, but Hulu can see the web address of the VPN server. It has been known to block traffic from popular VPN servers in an effort to keep out foreigners.

VPNs might let you bend geo-blocking rules, but they're not a foolproof way to avoid the long arm of the law. Government agencies can demand records from VPN providers and ISPs to trace traffic back to you, plus they might examine your computer's fingerprint. Fake email addresses also only offer limited anonymity for the same reasons. The authorities might go through Google, your VPN provider and your ISP to track you down as the owner of anonymous@gmail.com.

The heavy-handed tactics of the US government have even seen secure email services such as Lavabit and Silent Circle pull the plug because they can't guarantee privacy. To send secure messages you can use Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) to encrypt emails. Each PGP user is allocated a public and private encryption code.

Anyone can use your public code to send you an encrypted message, but you need your private code to read it. You can also hide messages inside other files such as digital photos - known as steganography.

Political dissidents and whistleblowers often use TOR and I2P to hide their online activities, but these are also used by people with less noble intentions. You can run TOR from a USB stick and it will encrypt your traffic and bounce it through a string of servers.

Not even TOR is infallible, though, with a recent attack on TOR for Firefox on Windows designed to identify users.

It appears the attack may have been launched by US law enforcement agencies to help bring down a secretive child pornography ring.

Someone, somewhere, is always watching.

theage.com.au 27 Oct 2013

There is literally NO SUCH THING AS ANONYMITY when it comes to being internet connected.
All encryption keys are held by US 'authorities' and used to retrieve the (encrypted) desired data upon request.

If the general populous were to carry out surveillance to a similar extent, then they would be labeled (by the government lap dogs - the corporate media) as 'nut jobs', paranoid, conspiracy theorists, and the like.

NSA collects millions of email address books with Australia's 'help'

Australian authorities gathered more than 300,000 contact lists on a single day from personal email and instant messaging accounts, on behalf of the US National Security Agency, a new report has claimed.

The previously undisclosed collection program intercepts email address books and instant messaging "buddy lists" as they move across the global data links. Online services often transmit those contacts when a user logs on, composes a message or synchronises a computer or mobile device with information stored on remote servers.

Rather than targeting individual users, the NSA is gathering contact lists in large numbers that amount to a sizable fraction of the world's email and instant messaging accounts. Analysis of that data enables the agency to search for hidden connections and map relationships within a much smaller universe of foreign intelligence targets.

According to the Washington Post, on a single day last year, the NSA's Special Source Operations branch collected 444,743 email address books from Yahoo!, 105,068 from Hotmail, 82,857 from Facebook, 33,697 from Gmail and 22,881 from unspecified other providers. The figures are contained in an internal top secret NSA PowerPoint presentation provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The "typical daily intake" corresponds to a rate of more than 250 million address books per year.

The newspaper claims Australia's NSA counterpart – the Defence Signals Directorate (now the Australian Signals Directorate) – collected 311,113 address books as part of the program on a single day, naming it as the designated "DS" code in the leaked file. Another code, AUC, also attributed to Australia, appears in another document.
Canberra has yet to confirm Australia is the culprit, and the author of the report has himself left open the possibility of the DS prefix belonging to another country, however Australia has already been revealed to have close ties with US and other international intelligence agencies.

In late August, for example, Fairfax Media revealed that the Australian Signals Directorate was in a partnership with British, American and Singaporean intelligence agencies to tap undersea fibre-optic telecommunications cables that link Asia, the Middle East and Europe and carry much of Australia's international phone and internet traffic.

Each day, the presentation said, the NSA collects contacts from an estimated 500,000 buddy lists on live-chat services as well as from the "inbox" displays of web-based email accounts.

Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman, who helped write the Post report, said he was able to identify "DS" as being an Australian intelligence agency using "internal evidence plus one source".

The collection depends on secret arrangements with foreign telecommunications companies or allied intelligence services in control of facilities that direct traffic along the internet's main data routes.

Although the collection takes place overseas, two senior US intelligence officials acknowledged that it sweeps in the contacts of many Americans. They declined to offer an estimate but did not dispute that the number is likely to be in the millions or tens of millions.

A spokesman for the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees the NSA, said the agency "is focused on discovering and developing intelligence about valid foreign intelligence targets like terrorists, human traffickers and drug smugglers. We are not interested in personal information about ordinary Americans".

The spokesman, Shawn Turner, added that rules approved by the US attorney general require the NSA to "minimise the acquisition, use, and dissemination" of information that identifies a US citizen or permanent resident.

The NSA's collection of nearly all US call records, under a separate program, has generated significant controversy since it was revealed in June. The NSA's director, General Keith Alexander, has defended "bulk" collection as an essential counterterrorism and foreign intelligence tool, saying "you need the haystack to find the needle".

Contact lists stored online provide the NSA with far richer sources of data than call records alone. Address books commonly include not only names and email addresses but also telephone numbers, street addresses, and business and family information. Inbox listings of email accounts stored in the "cloud" sometimes contain content such as the first few lines of a message.

Taken together, the data would enable the NSA, if permitted, to draw detailed maps of a person's life, as told by personal, professional, political and religious connections. The picture can also be misleading, creating false "associations" with ex-spouses or people with whom an account holder has had no contact in many years.

The NSA has not been authorised by US Congress or the special intelligence court that oversees foreign surveillance to collect contact lists in bulk, and senior intelligence officials said it would be illegal to do so from facilities in the United States. The agency avoids the restrictions in the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by intercepting contact lists from access points "all over the world", one official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a classified program. "None of those are on US territory."
Because of the method employed, the agency is not legally required or technically able to restrict its intake to contact lists belonging to specified foreign intelligence targets, he said.

When information passes through "the overseas collection apparatus", the official added, "the assumption is you're not a US person."

In practice, data from Americans is collected in large volumes – in part because they live and work overseas, but also because data crosses international boundaries even when its American owners stay at home. Large technology companies, including Google and Facebook, maintain data centres around the world to balance loads on their servers and work around outages.

A senior US intelligence official said that the privacy of Americans is protected, despite mass collection, because "we have checks and balances built into our tools".

NSA analysts, he said, may not search or distribute information from the contacts database unless they can "make the case that something in there is a valid foreign intelligence target in and of itself".

In this program, the NSA is obliged to make that case only to itself or others in the executive branch. With few exceptions, intelligence operations overseas fall solely within the US president's legal purview. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, enacted in 1978, imposes restrictions only on electronic surveillance that targets Americans or takes place on US territory.

By contrast, the NSA draws on authority in the Patriot Act for its bulk collection of domestic phone records, and it gathers online records from US internet companies, in a program known as PRISM, under powers granted by Congress in the FISA Amendments Act. Those operations are overseen by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in August that the committee has less information about, and conducts less oversight of, intelligence-gathering that relies solely on presidential authority. She said she planned to ask for more briefings on those programs.

"In general, the committee is far less aware of operations conducted under 12333," said a senior committee staff member, referring to Executive Order 12333, which defines the basic powers and responsibilities of the intelligence agencies. "I believe the NSA would answer questions if we asked them, and if we knew to ask them, but it would not routinely report these things, and in general they would not fall within the focus of the committee."

Because the agency captures contact lists "on the fly" as they cross major internet switches, rather than "at rest" on computer servers, the NSA has no need to notify the US companies that host the information or to ask for help from them.

"We have neither knowledge nor participation in any mass collection of web mail addresses or chat lists by the government," said Google spokesman Niki Fenwick.

At Microsoft, spokesman Nicole Miller said the company "does not provide any government with direct or unfettered access to our customers' data", adding that "we would have significant concerns if these allegations about government actions are true".

Facebook spokesman Jodi Seth said "we did not know and did not assist" in the NSA's interception of contact lists.

It is unclear why the NSA collects more than twice as many address books from Yahoo! than the other big services combined. One possibility is that Yahoo!, unlike other service providers, has left connections to its users unencrypted by default.

Suzanne Philion, a Yahoo! spokesman, said on Monday in response to an inquiry from The Washington Post that, beginning in January, Yahoo! would begin encrypting all its email connections.

Google was the first to secure all its email connections, turning on "SSL encryption" globally in 2010. People with inside knowledge said the move was intended in part to thwart large-scale collection of its users' information by the NSA and other intelligence agencies.

The volume of NSA contacts collection is so high that it has occasionally threatened to overwhelm storage repositories, forcing the agency to halt its intake with "emergency detasking" orders. Three NSA documents describe short-term efforts to build an "across-the-board technology throttle for truly heinous data" and longer-term efforts to filter out information that the NSA does not need.

Spam has proven to be a significant problem for NSA – clogging databases with data that holds no foreign intelligence value. The majority of all emails, one NSA document says, "are SPAM from 'fake' addresses and never 'delivered' to targets."

In late 2011, according to an NSA presentation, the Yahoo! account of an Iranian target was "hacked by an unknown actor", who used it to send spam. The Iranian had "a number of Yahoo! groups in his/her contact list, some with many hundreds or thousands of members".

The cascading effects of repeated spam messages, compounded by the automatic addition of the Iranian's contacts to other people's address books, led to a massive spike in the volume of traffic collected by the Australian intelligence service on the NSA's behalf.

After nine days of data-bombing, the Iranian's contact book and contact books for several people within it were "emergency detasked".

In a briefing from the NSA's Large Access Exploitation working group, that example was used to illustrate the need to narrow the criteria for interception of data. It called for a "shifting collection philosophy": "Memorialise what you need" vs. "Order one of everything off the menu and eat what you want."

with Barton Gellman, Ashkan Soltani and Julie Tate, Washington Post

theage.com.au 15 Oct 2013

The mass data collection has literally nothing to do with terrorism, but rather systematic profiling of every single person.

This data is then used to understand who knows what about the global political arena, and the 'enemy of the state', activists, protesters, politically aware people etc, are dealt with accordingly.

IBAC calls in outsider to finalise Simon Overland affair

THE independence of Victoria's new integrity watchdog has been called into question by its need to use an outsider to review the Simon Overland affair, state Labor says. 

But the decision made by the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission was understandable given the number of former Office of Police Integrity staff working at the new body, Opposition Anti-corruption spokeswoman Jill Hennessy said.

The Sunday Herald Sun revealed that IBAC has appointed an independent figure, believed to be an ex-judge, to finalise the probe into the stoush between former Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Simon Overland and his deputy, Sir Ken Jones.

The decision was made because the IBAC employs staff from the agency it replaced, the OPI.

A range of concerns are expected to be canvassed during the independent review, including any doubts about the OPI handling of its inquiries into Sir Ken.

The OPI had used phone taps and surveillance to investigate claims stemming from the fight between Mr Overland and Sir Ken.

Ms Hennessy said the ­"sorry saga" had gone on for a long time and involved multiple agencies, so an impartial investigator was needed.

"The outsider is required, given this matter has involved not just the OPI, but it has links to the highest levels of government," she said.

"The inherent conflicts of interest were always there and I suspect they would be there in the future."
She said the ­results of any final probe into the 'Overland affair' must be made public.

Premier Denis Napthine said because the IBAC was independent, the government would follow its advice on ­releasing any reports.

He defended the integrity of the IBAC, set up by the Coalition after it was elected in 2010.

"IBAC is independent. How they run their operations, how they conduct their operations is completely independent of government - that's what the people of Victorian want, that's how it should be, and that's what I will insist upon."

The so-called 'Overland affair' sent shock waves through the police force and the State Government.

Mr Overland had complained to the OPI that he believed Sir Ken had been trying to undermine him.

The OPI had also investigated claims Mr Overland was being undermined by former government staffer Tristan Weston.

The affair and its fallout sparked multiple resignations, including that of then premier Ted Baillieu.

news.com.au  27 Oct 2013

More corruption from the heads of police and state.

If the government is truly elected and 'subservient' to the people, then transparency is the key.

The Australian government IS a corporation and functions as such, a fact the general populous are NOT aware of.

The police are Corporate Thugs with a purpose of Debt Collecting for the corporations, and NOT to come in peace as per oath.

The Independent Board-based Anti-Corruption Commission is NOT independent but rather biased towards police corruption.

27 October 2013



Some years ago, Mick Skrijel was a fisherman in SA. By accident he came across fishermen dropping large quantities of illegal drugs to Police and others. Skrijel was offered monetary incentives to become a part of the scheme. He declined the offer and instead went to more senior Police. It turned out that they were also involved in the racket.

Due to their desire to silence Skrijel he was subjected to incredible harassment, including being charged and convicted of a number of trumped up drugs charges, his fishing boat was burn't and he lost all his assets. His daughter was raped by Police.

Mick Skrijel was eventually released after his convictions were quashed by the Victorian Court of Criminal Appeal. In other words he was NOT GUILTY of any of the fabricated charges.

Skrijel also found that the Victorian Police, Department of Public Prosecutions (now called OPP) and the Ombudsman (Barry Perry) had either been involved in the illegal drug trade or had aided and abetted it's continuation. Evidence of this has since been given at a number of parliamentary inquiries and a QC contracted by the Federal Government, (David Quick) has called for a Royal Commission into the NCA and associated matters.

A gun seized from Skrijel by Victorian Police was ordered by the court to be destroyed. It was not and by accident, Skrijel now has the gun again and it is in hiding.

Mick was clearly and obviously framed by the NCA with assistance from the Commonwealth A-G's Department, the Victorian DPP (now called Office of Public Prosecutions (OPP)) and Victoria Police. David Quick's draft report shows that very clearly. But much of the key evidence referred to in the original draft was censored out of the public volume of the final report. 

For example, in a supplementary response requested by David Quick, it referred to the fact that Mick was charged with the cultivation of marijuana (127 plants weighing 225 grams - yes grams - growing in a forest clearing during the winter, 16 km from Mick's Digby Victoria property), before the circumstantial evidence that resulted in his conviction for cultivation had been found. 

The statement of Sergeant Mark Carmady indicates that Mick was taken to the Casterton Police station where he was fingerprinted, photographed, interviewed and charged on the morning of 15 October 1985. 

Senior Sergeant Huggins gave evidence at Mick's trial that he was in charge of the Crime Scene Unit; arrived at Mick's premises at 6.45 pm (he was at the clearing in the Weecurra State Forest most of the day); and subsequently entered a shed at the rear of Mick's garage where he observed a piece of tongue and grove board leaning against the internal wall of the shed (the shed contained a large pile of such timber).

He found that the piece of timber was an off-cut of a board that helped to form the base of a seed-box found at the plantation during the day. There was no other evidence linking Mick to the plantation and the NCA's Chief Investigator Carl Mengler testified that Mick's finances had been closely scrutinised and no evidence of enrichment was found. On the contrary he was found to be relatively poor.

There are literally thousands of documents supporting Mick's allegations.

To read submission 19 which details more of the Skrijel matter, NCA and police corruption in Victoria, click here...

The above case is to be documented further in a forthcoming book (due out 1st December 1998 - click here for details). 


Public service links to outlaw bikie gangs

OUTLAW bikie gangs are feared to have infiltrated key State Government agencies - not just the police force. 

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission has received credible information detailing inappropriate relationships between bikies and public servants.

Commissioner Stephen O’Bryan confirmed investigations were underway.

“In the investigations we are doing in the both the police jurisdiction and the non-police public-sector jurisdiction, we do have investigations that involve not just inappropriate associations with criminal organisations but also unlawful provision of information to criminal organisations,” Mr O’Bryan said.

He would not identify the agencies.

“We obviously can’t start investigations without allegations that have some substance,” he said.

Bikies are active across a range of industries, including towing and heavy haulage, which are regulated by Vic­Roads.

Victoria Police’s Taskforce Eagle is already investigating alleged inappropriate links between police and bikies.

About three quarters of the complaints to IBAC are about police.

The rest are about other public-sector agencies.

Mr O’Bryan said IBAC had systems in place to protect whistleblowers who helped them expose corruption.

heraldsun.com.au 26 Oct 2013

The police work together WITH the 'bikies' in organised crime rings.

The police has the support of the corrupt legal system 'judge's and 'magistrate's' that conspire against the general populous in matters that are uncomfortable to the  establishment.

To quote Mr. O'Bryan : "Mr O’Bryan said IBAC had systems in place to protect whistleblowers who helped them expose corruption." is a false statement designed to make the public feel at ease and expose corrupt police, and other so called authorities.

Once the whistleblower comes forward, the information is obtained, and a later stage, they or their family is treated, assaulted, beaten up for exposing the corruption.

The police assault and incarcerate people who are uncomfortable to the 'system' with FULL backing and support of the government.

This situation is NOT going away in any hurry but rather staying put, as it has deep seeded roots, with corrupt heads of government and police involved.

IBAC are another useless 'company' that works together with the police.