Skip to main content

View Diary: Journalist destroys Greenwald's credibility on NSA "revelations" (823 comments)

Comment Preferences

    •  So which of Greenwald's omissions (6+ / 0-)

      do you disagree with?

    •  Cesca doesn't know squat about how cell phones (18+ / 0-)

      function. He confuses the off button with turning a cell phone off by preventing communication between cell phone and tower. Stopping cell phone signals is just as effective as removing the battery.

      "I heard" .... This guy is a dumb goof.

      http://thedailybanter.com/...
      On Monday, a link circulated through Twitter about a new product that capitalizes on the current anti-government, anti-NSA paranoia.

      The product is an iPhone accessory called the OFF Pocket. The manufacturer claims that if we stash our phones inside an OFF Pocket it can block NSA operatives from eavesdropping on us via “radio waves in the 2.4GHz spectrum.” The inventor claims that it takes too long to turn off our phones (or, apparently, to enable the Airplane Mode) so, hence, the OFF Pocket tricks NSA spies into thinking our phones are turned off when they’re really not.

      I hope they make one in silver fabric. You know, to match the tinfoil hats.

      But wait a second. I heard on The Young Turks and elsewhere that NSA can eavesdrop on us even if our phones are turned off. Evidently there’s a way for NSA to use our phones as a listening device, and it’s totally going to use it against you personally. So this OFF Pocket thing is pretty much useless.

      Seriously, anyone who buys a special iPhone cozy that blocks NSA spy-beams doesn’t get to make fun of Alex Jones any more.

      •  It took me about 10 seconds to take the battery (7+ / 0-)

        out of my cell phone just now.  (I thought it would go a lot faster but the cover was a bit sticky and after I got it off the battery didn't just pop right out.)  

        That "Off Pocket" sounds like a tinfoil helmet for your cell phone.  It might work, but if you're worried, just take the damn battery out.  

        We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

        by david78209 on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 12:59:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  mine doesn't have a removable battery. -nt (12+ / 0-)

          Building Community. Creating Jobs. Donating Art to Community Organizations. Support the Katalogue

          by UnaSpenser on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 01:01:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Taking it out is easy (7+ / 0-)

          It's the 3 minute startup time when you put it back in that's annoying, at least on my phone.

        •  Anything that reliably blocks signals from (14+ / 0-)

          reaching the cell phone will effectively make it non-functioning ie "off". You can test the Off Pocket (which is just a Faraday Cage for cell phone frequencies) by putting the phone in the sleeve and calling it.

          These Faraday sleeves are also good to prevent tracking in stores that read your credit cards or cell phone to deduce what you are interested in when you shop.

          BTW, "tinfoil" helmets work but you have to use real tin foil - not that cheap aluminum foil you find in the store. The government restricts the sale of tin foil so you won't find it in the supermarket. I can sell you some but it's very expensive.  ;)

          •  k, so you leave the cell phone on in the "cage"... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Claudius Bombarnac, david78209

            ... and you're basically just draining the battery for no reason.  I guess that makes sense, right?

            By the same token, when my Galaxy S4 can't find a signal it basically loses its shit and tries to connect to ANYTHING it can.  The damn thing gets hot as hell trying to find something to connect to, and the battery drains incredibly fast.  If I put it in airplane mode, it doesn't make a difference - it still just sits there wasting the battery and generating a ton of heat.  

            I just turn the damn thing off, interestingly it stays cool when it's off, so that must mean the government doesn't give a shit about me or they'd be turning the phone on and turning my pocket into an oven.

            Looking through the bent backed tulips, To see how the other half lives, Looking through a glass onion - John Lennon and Paul McCartney

            by Hey338Too on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 02:00:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You won't know if the gov't is listening or (12+ / 0-)

              tracking you with the phone just turned off. They don't have turn it "on" because it was never really off in the first place. It is still communicating with a cell tower.

              It tracks and listens completely surreptitiously. It could do this at intervals and without having to power up the display, the unit would not get appreciably hot. See the YouTube video in my other post.

              Hehehe... by commenting in this NSA related diary and communicating with a foreigner ( me - Canadian) you are now legal fodder for the NSA.  ;)

              In truth you are legal because this is a public blog so they can record everything (or let Google do it for them).

              •  Just to allay your fears (a bit)... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                david78209, Claudius Bombarnac

                ... from the video you posted, and from doing a search of the web, in order for the eavesdropping function to work there has to be some malware installed on your phone.

                Looking through the bent backed tulips, To see how the other half lives, Looking through a glass onion - John Lennon and Paul McCartney

                by Hey338Too on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 05:16:56 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  They don't come with the NSA's malware already (6+ / 0-)

                  installed?  IIRC from a few days ago, somebody -- NSA, CIA, FBI, or somebody like that, or all of them-- have been either asking for or demanding the keys to all the "secure" encoding protocols.  If they want that, why wouldn't they want to put their "backdoor monitoring" software in all phones?

                  And if the phone in question has a big enough memory, it could probably record your conversations while it was "off" and then send them to the spooks when you plug it in to charge.

                  I still use an old phone that barely even takes pictures.  The more I set my mind to run wild in paranoid mode, the more I like my old phone.  New phones may have malware already installed, but I doubt they'd thought of that when they were making the fossil I use.

                  We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

                  by david78209 on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 05:35:54 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  The undetectable malware can be installed remotely (8+ / 0-)

                  by the carriers.  Listen to the video at 1:40 where it was done remotely for the police. Some carriers routinely upgrade their customer's cellphone software without their knowledge. It's in the fine print which people rarely read when they sign a contract. Some phones coming straight from the factory have been discovered to have "phone home" technology already running on them.

                  The NSA could also get a warrant and do the same. You can also be assured that the spooks at the CIA can also hack the system to accomplish this w/o the carriers. It is not something new. What is new that it is now available to the public for a small fee.

                  I posted this because so few people realize that a cell phone is actually a tracking/surveillance device that can also make phone calls.

                  •  The guy in the video said that... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    david78209

                    ... but my guess is that a person who writes and compiles ROMs for Android phones would find it and report it immediately knowing he (or she) would be a hero around the world.

                    As for:

                    It's in the fine print which people rarely read when they sign a contract.
                    So is the carrier's right to sell the data they collect on you to whomever they want.  Your acceptance of their phone (and your signature on their contract) allows them to pretty much do what they want with no liability.  BTW, it's not just cell providers, it's game console manufacturers, for profit operating system vendors, software companies, cable providers, and internet service providers - you sign agreements with all of those organizations and give them the right to use the data you generate as they see fit.

                    Looking through the bent backed tulips, To see how the other half lives, Looking through a glass onion - John Lennon and Paul McCartney

                    by Hey338Too on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 07:53:40 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Are you saying that any carrier who has (3+ / 0-)

                      remote access to it's customer's phone's software at the level where it can make upgrades cannot install readily available surveillance software at the same time?

                      a person who writes and compiles ROMs for Android phones would find it and report it immediately knowing he (or she) would be a hero around the world.

                      ????
                      There's even hundreds of web sites showing how to hack cell phones. Google "hacking cell phones remotely"

                      So you are comfortable with the government collecting this information from every different private corporation you deal with into one massive file? The games you play, what you purchase, where you holiday, travel, doctor visits, lab reports, spouse and children's activities/data and the same data on your friends and acquaintances - the list goes on and on.

                      •  A cell provider certainly can... (0+ / 0-)

                        ... my S4 has been updated 3 times already in less than a year.  But why would they install malicious software on their phones?  If they were found out, and they would be, they'd lose their installed base very quickly (or every Android device would have a new "non-spy" ROM installed within a week).  Don't forget Sprint is in the business to make money (it's a great racket - get people to pay for more than they use and pocket the difference), not assist the NSA with installing spy-ware.  No company (or industry) would take that gamble.

                        As for phone hacking, it's been going on for decades - ever since phreaking.  Cells are no different.  But to actually get to the contents of the device, one has to be a bit more clever and get some malware onto the phone.

                        With regard to data collection, yeah - I'm comfortable with it.  If you understand cell technology and internet fundamentals, you know that what you're doing is being logged and warehoused.  I understand the technologies involved and purchased the gear of my own volition and have read the license agreements I've signed.  I know what they're probably collecting and I couldn't care less.  Hopefully "they" were as excited as I was for getting a hole in one on the 17th hole at Pebble Beach in Tiger Woods 2009 for X-Box (there was a cross wind of 17 mph).  I hope they like my taste in pron, they haven't said anything about it, so I guess they approve.  And if the mic on my cell has been turned on they are listening to Symphony number 338 in Fart minor since both my dog and I are very gassy at the moment.  I'm not going to change my life.  Actually there are a couple of things I do - I never walk in front of my Kinect equipped X-Box naked, and when I am not watching television I leave the cable box on and tuned to MSNBC (they think I'm watching it 22 hours a day, I like to fuck with their heads).

                        Looking through the bent backed tulips, To see how the other half lives, Looking through a glass onion - John Lennon and Paul McCartney

                        by Hey338Too on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 09:20:44 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  If given a federal court order to do so (3+ / 0-)

                          they would have to install this software on a customer's phone. They would have no choice and would also not be able to speak of it at all. It could be done just as the video spoke of.

                          As for phone hacking, it's been going on for decades - ever since phreaking.  Cells are no different.  But to actually get to the contents of the device, one has to be a bit more clever and get some malware onto the phone.
                          You don't even have to be a hacker. It can be very easily done if given access to the phone for several minutes.
                          What is mSpy?

                          mSpy is a powerful mobile monitoring software solution that allows you to track every tiny detail of the target cell phone's activities. This application is easy to use and boasts a wide range of features that make it the best cell phone tracker on the market.

                          From just $29.99 per month Undetectable!
                          ...
                          Unlike some other systems, we do not use SMS commands. It means that you won't run into extra costs for messages and you can be sure there would be no tracks in the phone's sent box.
                          ...
                          mSpy is equipped with a heavy feature set including GPS tracking, remote locks and recording phone surroundings.
                          Our cell phone tracking software is 100% undetectable!

                          It can also be done remotely.
                          Rooting SIM cards

                          Cracking SIM update keys. OTA commands, such as software updates, are cryptographically-secured SMS messages, which are delivered directly to the SIM. While the option exists to use state-of-the-art AES or the somewhat outdated 3DES algorithm for OTA, many (if not most) SIM cards still rely on the 70s-era DES cipher. DES keys were shown to be crackable within days using FPGA clusters, but they can also be recovered much faster by leveraging rainbow tables similar to those that made GSM’s A5/1 cipher breakable by anyone.

                          To derive a DES OTA key, an attacker starts by sending a binary SMS to a target device. The SIM does not execute the improperly signed OTA command, but does in many cases respond to the attacker with an error code carrying a cryptographic signature, once again sent over binary SMS. A rainbow table resolves this plaintext-signature tuple to a 56-bit DES key within two minutes on a standard computer.

            •  lol... If you don't remove the battery it is still (5+ / 0-)

              able to be used as a listening device through, I believe.

              Interesting that unlocking or jailbreaking your phone was, IIRC, made illegal.

              Wonder why? Eh?

              Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

              by k9disc on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 07:27:55 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  The off pocket is a faraday cage, and ironically (5+ / 0-)

          enough is a tinfoil hat that you put on your phone.

          Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

          by k9disc on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 07:25:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  And this ad hom has what do with anything? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SuetheRedWA, Sophie Amrain, Tony Situ

        The topic here is not Cesca's personal technological expertise with the inner workings of cellphones -- it is Greenwald's repeated habit of twisting or outright ignoring material facts that contradict his story.

        Do you have a comment on Greenwald's glaring omissions, or do you want to go right on proving Cesca's point?

        •  It tells us that Cesca doesn't understand the (14+ / 0-)

          technology that the NSA is using for surveillance. This technology, how it functions and how it can be abused is what Snowden has revealed to the world. He attempts to demean and dismiss those who are concerned with NSA surveillance as being conspiracy theorists.

          Turnaround is fair play. Cesca presaged his article with an ad hominem attack.

          Cesca: a new product that capitalizes on the current anti-government, anti-NSA paranoia
          Cesca: make one in silver fabric. You know, to match the tinfoil hats
          Cesca: anyone who buys a special iPhone cozy that blocks NSA spy-beams doesn’t get to make fun of Alex Jones any more
          Reggid: Do you have a comment on Greenwald's glaring omissions, or do you want to go right on proving Cesca's point?
          I made a remark on Cesca's GLARING error in that article and disproved his point.

          Using cell phones for listening, tracking and monitoring is a very real threat. This technology, once reserved for police and government use, can now be used by anyone for a very modest cost.

        •  It tells me Cesca is naive and ignorant about (3+ / 0-)

          the entire situation. He is not fit to comment on this topic, in fact, after that stupid comment about phones.

          Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

          by k9disc on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 07:32:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  But he does make a really good point... (3+ / 0-)

        ... later in that same article:

        The paranoia and conspiracy-mongering is truly bizarre coming from the same crowd that loudly blasted President Obama for not including a single-payer system in his healthcare reform legislation. Single-payer, naturally, would be run by the federal government and so a government agency would have access to our medical histories and decide whether we could receive certain forms of medical treatment. Every sexually transmitted disease, every erectile dysfunction prescription and every colon X-ray would be gathered and processed by the government, and since the program would be financed via our tax returns, the IRS would provide an investigative and potentially punitive aspect to it. If you don’t pay your taxes, you’re punished for it. In fact, I remember how we laughed at paranoid Republicans who insisted that the IRS would toss people in jail for not abiding the individual mandate.

        Looking through the bent backed tulips, To see how the other half lives, Looking through a glass onion - John Lennon and Paul McCartney

        by Hey338Too on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 01:11:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The private health care providers can and (8+ / 0-)

          currently do use this information against people to deny or restrict health care. The only way to stop or prevent it is effective government controls.

          I would hope that there would be whistle blowers in the system to tell us when the system is being abused.

          If there was universal health care provided by taxation you certainly would be punished for not paying your taxes. Right now parts of ObamaCare and Medicaid/Medicare for the poor and aged have premiums that are paid for by the state from taxes.

          In some countries with universal health care, individual mandates will be deducted from tax payments so in effect you will be punished by the IRS if you don't pay them.

          The bizarro is coming from Cesca in this article.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site