OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: "Project SPEARGUN underway"

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  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Alfie,

    Starting your sentences with “so” demonstrates that you’re not as comfortable with your story as you think you are. And there’s a good chance that you may be lying.

    I listen to the BBC Science in action podcasts as well as Discovery and Naked genetics (less exciting than it sounds) and several other science podcasts (sometimes my benchwork is boring:)).

    One of the listeners made the point that almost all the scientists interviewed started their description of their science with
    "So, ...".
    And it was true, and still is.

    So*, perhaps that rule of thumb isn't as good as you hope.


    *Did you see what I did there :P

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    So*, perhaps that rule of thumb isn’t as good as you hope.

    “So” is the current “well” or “um”. (I edit a lot of interviews and talks, and it drives me a little nuts, so I chop it off as often as I’m able.)
    But this accords well enough with the piece linked to in the sense it’s often an ‘I’ve rehearsed this’ or ‘here’s the public version’ marker.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • CJM, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    I was just thinking, this piece of equipment Key says they test fitted “like a muffler” where is it now? Still at the bottom of the a sea? In the GCSB basement in Wellington? I can’t imagine there’s much of a market for “only got wet once” cable taps

    They attached it to Judith Collins’ mag-wheeled, lowered-axled, flame-painted ’89 Nissan Skyline. That farting sound you can probably hear is her hooning around Papakura delivering pamphlets.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2014 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Doh! Idea...

    So*...

    ... a needle, pulling thread?
    Far, a long long way to run
    Tea, a drink with jam and bread
    That will bring us back to
    Do, oh oh oh...

    ;- )

    The hills are alive
    they have ears and eyes
    they know what to do
    with a problem like that...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7886 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart,

    Prime Minister John Key acknowledged today that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's claim that New Zealanders' data is accessible through the controversial XKeyscore system "may well be right".

    However, he maintained that information will not have been gathered under any Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) mass surveillance programme as the agency doesn't have that capability.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11326387

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I thought that the 5-eyes had agreements that they would not spy on each other (or does "each other" only mean governments and not their citizens)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2605 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I was thinking about this while "great big Norton Anti-Virus" thing Key was going on about and how this was his justification for the Speargun tap - his claim that this was not mass surveillance it was to protect us against.

    Problem is that if you want an "anti-virus" or other active security you need to be able to change, kill and inject packets in real time, that's not what a cable tap does, it just copies bits without changing them - you just don't build and deploy a cable tap to do cyber protection you build it to quietly copy everything that goes by without changing, you build it for mass surveillance, nothing else

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2605 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    I for one fully appreciate the expertise you and all the professionals have brought to the analysis of this issue. But I have a nagging feeling, and it reaches right back to last year when the dialogue around this issue first came to my attention, and I guess it could primarily be classified as an oversight by the MSM.

    The crux of it is that, before all these discussions and analogies and might I even say adventures, began, before John Key was put on the spot to give us the rundown of our nation’s electronic security apparatus, did anyone in the media think to actually ask our Prime Minister if the poor guy actually has any knowledge whatsoever about anything beyond the most basic rudiments of computers? Or at the very least did any of our Fourth Estate go to any reasonable length to establish what in fact he may know?

    Because I’m getting this lingering sense right now, based on the answers we’ve heard, and that smug look on his face as he’s attempted – and at times made a fairly good fist of – communicating with us, to us, for us – that there’s a very high likelihood, that much of this confusion may in not so much be due to any fault of his own -that we may have quite unexpectedly, by dint of good fortune or fate, stumbled upon our nation’s very own Magic Alex. Stranger things have happened.

    Scrub probability: 7+

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to CJM,

    They attached it to Judith Collins’ mag-wheeled, lowered-axled, flame-painted ’89 Nissan Skyline. That farting sound you can probably hear is her hooning around Papakura delivering pamphlets.

    I'd say they're more appropriate on the previous 1981-1988 model. Maybe it's just me, but flames look better on boxier vehicles.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5415 posts Report Reply

  • Jake Starrow,

    testing...

    Since Sep 2014 • 77 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell, in reply to Jake Starrow,

    Not banned, eh?

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to John Farrell,

    Not banned, eh?

    Is now.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2929 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C,

    So Mr Teflon Key gets away with this again, simply shrugging his shoulders, refusing to comment on Xkeyscore and other intelligence matters, claiming there are no NSA installations here, but also admitting that some technical staff may be placed somewhere, perhaps working for the US embassy, consulate or else.

    Speculation remains, closing of ranks (Key, security heads and staff) happens, nobody talks, usual excuses are given, and the media simply resigns, and moves on to the next new topics and headlines, no matter how trivial.

    I am afraid we will never learn the full truth. Given Key's past behaviour and changes of stories on various other controversial matters, I fully trust Glenn Greenwald and Ed Snowden on this.

    We should all be very concerned about this, but apparently, most do not mind to be spied upon, as they supposedly "have nothing to hide". George Orwell's 1984 has been our reality for some time, I fear.

    Akl • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Marc C,

    We should all be very concerned about this, but apparently, most do not mind to be spied upon, as they supposedly “have nothing to hide”. George Orwell’s 1984 has been our reality for some time, I fear.

    What if the GCSB was re-directed to spy on tax evaders and PR hacks? Would the “nothing to hide” apologists still be saying what they say, or would they start shouting “KGB!”?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5415 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    So what drives that growth?

    I think that one of the things that has happened is that military structures in general have insulated themselves from the political process. And the kinds of claims that are made to justify their growth, whether putting people in fear of terrorism or other kinds of threats, are very powerful tools. No politician wants to be seen as making the country less safe, or to be vulnerable to claims that they stood in the way of the security of citizens. And these agencies are very good at manipulating public discourse to make sure that they’re continually fed greater authority and greater budgetary support – and just generally allowed to operate without much interference from political officials.

    There is a document that we published maybe four or five months ago. It was an interview that was done internally at the NSA with the official in charge of foreign partnerships. And they asked him, why is it that for example in Europe, where you have wildly disparate swings in the election outcomes, from the right to the left, it doesn’t really affect the partnerships that we have with these countries’ intelligence agencies?

    And he said, that’s because virtually nobody in the political process, anyone outside of the military structure, even knows these partnerships exist.

    For me this is the most important clarification of the last week. It’s crucial to make the distinction between FYES/GCSB and New Zealand. FYES has been evolving since before the GCSB was amalgamated in 1977 under Muldoon, and under every Prime Minister since.

    What if the GCSB was re-directed to spy on tax evaders and PR hacks?

    If tax evasion is disclosed to the relevant authorities then they may be subject to prosecution? If someone breaks the law then they can quite rightly expect punishment. From my limited reading it doesn’t appear that the FYES infrastructure is necessarily that petty, goals: i.e. TPPA and more generally simply Power.

    Whether John Key did or didn’t know about the spying on Kim Dot Com, the point is that the authorities, the police, the legislative arm decided to pounce at the behest of the US. With the trumped up charges the spying probably wasn’t even necessary.

    And these agencies are very good at manipulating public discourse

    Very good. Because they observe response. in order to successfully bring about civilised revolution. Resistance is KungFu vs The Ocean. If you don’t want to be spied on, go bush.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    And these agencies are very good at manipulating public discourse

    For me the biggest question which I'd love someone to answer is if the GCSB/NSA/FYES are so powerful, and Government are so corrupt, then how did Rawshark manage to get away clean as a whistle?

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell, in reply to mark taslov,

    There is the question. What deep game is being played?

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to mark taslov,

    For me the biggest question which I’d love someone to answer is if the GCSB/NSA/FYES are so powerful, and Government are so corrupt, then how did Rawshark manage to get away clean as a whistle?

    I'm guessing he/she is an insider. There is no organization that can possibly get big or powerful enough to stop that kind of person. Quite the opposite, the bigger and more powerful they get, the more damaging that kind of person can be.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10630 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to BenWilson,

    I’m guessing he/she is an insider. There is no organization that can possibly get big or powerful enough to stop that kind of person. Quite the opposite, the bigger and more powerful they get, the more damaging that kind of person can be.

    If it is the work of a lone gun. are there alternatives? and does all power corrupt?

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    I think it is just that mass surveillance is actually rubbish at catching people you don't know. It is good for keeping tabs on the general population scanning keywords, and excellent at keeping tabs on specific targets and their extended networks. but against a person with no social networks whom you don't know it in next to useless.

    I thought Rawshark was on the way to discovery when he began giving press interviews, but he stepped back from that.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1443 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to David Hood,

    But why didn’t John Key lead with that? Why did he put the focus on Hager for writing the book, left wing conspiracy theorists, the left, why not paint Slater as the victim of a far more serious crime and lead with:

    "Look this black hat hacker, has violated the rights of a New Zealand citizen in a very serious way and we will not stop until he is brought to justice, this is why we changed the GCSB law, this is why New Zealand needs gold standard cyber-security.

    This is not about the security of just one individual this is about the security of our families and our children. This criminal is showing absolutely no remorse in ripping apart the life of Mr Slater, a hardworking Kiwi, with a family, with kids, effectively terrorising them. How would anyone of us feel if this happened to us? Duncan, how would you feel if this was your emails in this book? Claire? Patrick?

    This vigilante has abused the greatest right we possess in a democracy; the right to privacy. At the end of the day, this is a wake up call for New Zealand, a sea change in the cyber-security world. This is not what we as New Zealanders stand for. Pretty shortly the police commissioner will be issuing a statement with terms offering a $10 million reward to anyone who can provide information leading to the capture of this so called Whaledump."

    - Mr Key, what about the allegations contained in Dirty Politics?

    Look our priority right now is on justice and ensuring mums and dads across the country can feel safe in their homes from these new threats facing our country. We will be holding a press statement on the any allegations, but right now our focus is on catching the guy who did this, and making sure Kiwis can feel safe on their own computers and that something like this never happens again

    -But Prime Mini….

    Sorry no further questions at this time, the Police Commissioner will be issuing his statement shortly. We will be issuing statements as any updates occur

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    Well, The thinking was the Hager book was about the NSA stuff, and they were a bit blindsided by the contents. the first response was to say it wasn't true, which was incompatible with saying the emails were stolen. could they have played it differently at the start, yes. Did they want to contradict themselves from initial positions, no.

    Anyway, the media have a pretty clear understanding of releasing things in the public interest, so trying to tell the media that Slater's privacy rights have precedence when there is evidence of illegal activities would be pushing it uphill.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1443 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to David Hood,

    Nothing about this leaves any lingering whiff that this whole shebang is the greatest staged event since the Gulf of Tonkin incident?

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Oh, the GCSB would not want to upset the ones that "keep the economy going", whether it is the open economy, or the hidden, "black" economy, where the tax dodger's money is circulating, to grow yet more profits, which will also not be taxed. But yes, a valid question, as then we will have the "persecuted" scream "big brother" and so forth.

    Watching the news last night, I was disturbed, about the FLOOD of information coming from Australia, where there are now suddenly all these allegations of extremist islamist activities, where heads were going to be chopped off, and where even the Parliament in Canberra was supposedly targeted for an attack.

    Good grief, have the secret services there been asleep for years, is there suddenly an unexpected exposion of extremism, and is this all for real? I am starting to wonder, whether this is, like recent official warnings in the UK, all part of an agenda, to stir up public fear, in order to divert attention from the revelations by Snowden and Greenwald, to make people think, hey, we need to be watched, listened in on and surveilled 24/7, as otherwise we will have terrorism all over the place.

    It is just surreal, it is bizarre, what Abbott is parroting off every day now, I cannot believe that all that is true, what they claim about terrorist threats. Why is all this happening right now, after the "Moment of Truth" meeting and presentation in Auckland on Monday 15 September 2014???

    Akl • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • stephen clover, in reply to mark taslov,

    I wondered this myself, and I’ve always assumed that to use use the ‘apparatus’ to catch Rawshark would reveal the existence and operation of the apparatus in the ways which it’s been maintained that it does not exist and operate.

    Also that the window between event and book (around 6 months) is too long for retention of gathered [meta]data, meaning that the hypothetical vector of Hager (known) => Rawshark (unknown) (i.e. query Hager’s phone and email comms and geospatial data from that time) is not able to be exploited.

    wgtn • Since Sep 2007 • 355 posts Report Reply

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