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Canadian Spy Agency Snooped Travelers With Airport Wi-Fi

Soulskill posted about 8 months ago | from the mapping-everyone's-hockey-allegiances dept.

Canada 159

Walking The Walk writes: "It seems the NSA isn't the only agency doing illegal domestic spying. According to a Snowden document obtained by the CBC, Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) has apparently been tracking domestic travelers, starting from when they first use free Wi-Fi at an airport, and continuing for days after they left the terminal. From the article: 'The document indicates the passenger tracking operation was a trial run of a powerful new software program CSEC was developing with help from its U.S. counterpart, the National Security Agency. In the document, CSEC called the new technologies "game-changing," and said they could be used for tracking "any target that makes occasional forays into other cities/regions."' The CBC notes early in the article that the spy agency 'is supposed to be collecting primarily foreign intelligence by intercepting overseas phone and internet traffic, and is prohibited by law from targeting Canadians or anyone in Canada without a judicial warrant.' Predictably, CSEC's chief is quoted saying that they aren't allowed to spy on Canadians, so therefore they don't. As observed by experts consulted for the story, that claim is equivalent to saying that they collect the data but we're to trust that they don't look at it."

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second (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46120353)

second

Re:third (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46120365)

Third with some frosty piss!

Et tu, Canada? (4, Funny)

idontgno (624372) | about 8 months ago | (#46120397)

And I thought you were so nice and polite.

I guess you were spying, but politely.

Re:Et tu, Canada? (1)

zoffdino (848658) | about 8 months ago | (#46120431)

"Geography made us neighbours, NSA made you my slave".

Re:Et tu, Canada? (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 8 months ago | (#46121337)

Legal under the principles of "we have no idea who owns the computers we are tracking, therefore they aren't definitely Canadian" and "airports have planes that transport people to other countries, therefore it's like the people are standing in other countries".

Re:Et tu, Canada? (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | about 8 months ago | (#46120441)

It's "eh! tu" eh!

former resident of the Great White North

Re:Et tu, Canada? (2)

cold fjord (826450) | about 8 months ago | (#46120463)

Take off, eh! ;)

Re:Et tu, Canada? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46120591)

Heil Harper!

Re:Et tu, Canada? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46120719)

Finally! Proof of the existence of the rumored Canadian crank!

Re:Et tu, Canada? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46121033)

Don't be a hozzer eh?

Re:Et tu, Canada? (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 8 months ago | (#46121875)

Don't be a hozzer eh?

That's hoser, you hoser and eh is affirmative, in this case, so more properly it would be:

Don't be a hoser, eh!

Now take off hosehead, eh!

Re:Et tu, Canada? (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 8 months ago | (#46121955)

Beauty, eh. You deserve a nice, cold Elsinore and some poutine.

Re:Et tu, Canada? (3, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | about 8 months ago | (#46120507)

And I thought you were so nice and polite.

Not everyone in Canada is polite [foxnews.com] , and the Canadian government has its own security concerns of many types [telegraph.co.uk] .

Re:Et tu, Canada? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46120617)

"It seems the NSA isn't the only agency doing illegal domestic spying.

What a non surprise!!! The /. article itself is retarded, and another repetitive "Canadian Spying story" .. ""It seems the NSA isn't the only agency"" Well they were never the only spying agency in the history of the world, or the US for that matter.

I going to rip on the submitter for writing something so arrogant.. You look at Canada and there right on the heels of the idiotic sh** the EU does, or they pass laws that have no sense to them.

Easy logic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46120621)

(from the summary) ...they collect the data but we're to trust that they don't look at it

That's the wrong way of evaluating the situation. The correct way is to realize that IF they were trustworthy, then they wouldn't be spying on innocent people (you) in the first place.

Re:Et tu, Canada? (2)

Oysterville (2944937) | about 8 months ago | (#46120821)

They are being polite. You have to voluntarily join a public and un-trusted network to allow them to snoop. At that point, you are practically leaving your doors and windows wide open for someone to break into your home, so to speak.

Re:Et tu, Canada? (2)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about 8 months ago | (#46121233)

And if You and I were to setup the same kind of snooping network, we would be jailed. But the laws don't apply the same when you're powerful/rich/government.

Re:Et tu, Canada? (2)

davecb (6526) | about 8 months ago | (#46120877)

According to a former boss, CSE is a really polite bunch of folks. They seem be be polite evil this week, though.

Re:Et tu, Canada? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46121113)

They seem be be polite evil this week, though.

I don't remember 'polite evil'. Is that new in 4th edition?

Re:Et tu, Canada? (1)

davecb (6526) | about 8 months ago | (#46121331)

No, it was part of v6, but removed in v7 after we got groups to work better that they did in PWB.

Re:Et tu, Canada? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46121107)

Caeser was surprised that Brutus had turned on him. I am not surprised that any national government would want to spy on me.

Re:Et tu, Canada? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46121675)

I'm sure they said please before spying though.

I was surprised to see such good coverage by CBC (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46120411)

They spent a lot of time on this story last night and let the privacy comissioner speak her mind about it. I didn't expect such unbiased open coverage of this topic by our state broadcaster.

I was pleased to see such good coverage by CBC (1)

davecb (6526) | about 8 months ago | (#46120781)

Governments of the day would love us to have a "state broadcaster", and might also prefer to have a pliant privacy commissioner, but neither report directly to the PM. It's admittedly hard for them to honour and defend our constitution (to borrow a U.S. phrase) but they manage somehow.

That's impolite (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46120423)

Don't design wireless protocols to use static unique identifiers in the clear. All identification should be encrypted, and connections which don't require authentication should not use static identifiers at all.

Re:That's impolite (2)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 8 months ago | (#46120685)

How do you propose not using a MAC address with any network protocol?

Re:That's impolite (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46120779)

MAC addresses are sufficiently long that you can randomly generate a new one for every connection attempt without a significant risk of collision. Random "serial numbers" are already available as a feature on some RFID chips (precisely to prevent tracking of the RFID chip by unauthorized readers). Note that I'm not suggesting that users start randomizing MAC addresses. That is a possible remedy, but this really needs to be designed into the protocol. A wireless device should never use identifiers in a way which enables untrusted listeners to recognize the device.

Re:That's impolite (2)

davecb (6526) | about 8 months ago | (#46120807)

Same way as early PCs and IBM token-rings did it: broadcast("I'd like to be user %d", id=rand(seed)); and see if anyone already has that number.

(Never ask a factual question sarcastically on a nerd site: someone will probably know the answer (:-))

Re:That's impolite (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 8 months ago | (#46120953)

Statistically.

MAC addresses are six bytes long. Even minus the multicasts, that's still a lot of combinations. The solution is obvious:
1. Client generates random MAC for the session, connects, starts doing stuff.
2. Client listens for a couple of minutes for a matching MAC. If found, goto 1.

A collision is possible, yes, if the previous user of that address happens to be quiet at the time. But it's also very unlikely, and can be resolved by simply reconnecting. No modification to the network hardware is required, nor to other clients.

That's OK, we'll get even (4, Informative)

ackthpt (218170) | about 8 months ago | (#46120433)

We'll send this junk [whitehouse.gov] back, up to 221K, so far.

Re:That's OK, we'll get even (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46120521)

But he doesn't have a green card, he's here on an O-1B visa. Gotta watch for those technicalities when drafting something with the full weight and force of an online petition.

Re:That's OK, we'll get even (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 8 months ago | (#46120587)

But he doesn't have a green card, he's here on an O-1B visa. Gotta watch for those technicalities when drafting something with the full weight and force of an online petition.

Interesting bit about begin here on an Artistic visa is they're a bit easier to revoke.

Nevermind that spy behind the curtain... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46120447)

The spying was never meant to be legal, it was meant to be secret. If all the secrets were made known, you wouldn't put up with the illegality of the governance.

They will never come clean, there will always be additional layers behind what they tell the public. Until we force their hand.

The question is does the public really want to do that.

Re:Nevermind that spy behind the curtain... (3, Insightful)

dcw3 (649211) | about 8 months ago | (#46120957)

Secret != illegal
Not that I'm agreeing with what their doing, but I do believe there need to be secrets.l

Re:Nevermind that spy behind the curtain... (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46121075)

When two kids start arguing over a toy, we take the toy away. When someone drives while drunk, we confiscate their car. When governments start abusing their secret work, we must take away their abilities to keep secrets.

In all cases everybody gets hurt a little, but the alternative is to let things escalate and then somebody will get hurt a lot more.

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46120453)

Why bother doing this? I mean, I have to surrender every possible bit of personally identifiable information to get a plane ticket anyway, so haven't you already figured out where I'm going, what hotel I'm staying at, etc, etc, etc before I even leave my home?

Re:Why? (1)

davecb (6526) | about 8 months ago | (#46120907)

Solution looking for a problem, field test of something to use somewhere else, and/or overweening arrogance.

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

compro01 (777531) | about 8 months ago | (#46121357)

Just because you're in an airport doesn't mean you're getting on a plane.

Three words (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46120469)

RANDOM MAC ADDRESSES.

Chances are they're tracking people by MAC. Set up a cron job on your device to *ahem* adjust your MAC address with some regularity. You need to maintain a connection, so perhaps every hour? Or tie it to GPS coordinates or SSID names and when they change, update the MAC to something random...

The trick will be to make sure you don't repeat MAC's - probably want to keep an encrypted DB of hashs of the MAC's so you can verify you haven't used it previously before assigning a new one...

Effectively turn your token into a one-time pad... Fuck 'em.

Re: Three words (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46121215)

The use of tracking MAC addresses is nothing new. In Sydney, Australia, there are traffic lights fitted with surveillance equipment. This information came out during a television story on ABC tv. What the government is doing is targeting bluetooth/wifi enabled devices, logging them into a database then the owners are tracked around the city. The government claimed that MAC addresses were not personally identifying so it's not a concern. The fact is that MAC addresses are identifiable and can be linked to whatever individual. If you have ever been arrested by sydney police and had to surrender your device, chances are that they will record the IMEI and MAC address. And for all those arm chair IT experts here: how the hell is the average user supposed to generate a new MAC address for their phones or tablets?! LOL

Don't Use Free WiFi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46120525)

If you use someone else's free WiFi, and expect the same level of privacy you'd have on your own network, you're too trusting.

Not that my Verizon 4G hotspot is exactly NSA proof (becuase Verizon), or that WiFi in general is secure. But knowingly connecting through an unknown third party's pipe and expecting them not to look seems naive. Why invite the snooping?

Re:Don't Use Free WiFi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46120701)

If you use someone else's free WiFi, and expect the same level of privacy you'd have on your own network, you're too trusting.

Heck being Canada, I'm sure this was all spelled out in the FreeWiFi EULA.

Re:Don't Use Free WiFi (1)

compro01 (777531) | about 8 months ago | (#46120743)

What makes you think you need to use it for them to track stuff?

We're paying for the privilege of being spied on (1)

rjune (123157) | about 8 months ago | (#46120551)

I'm sure the NSA has already thought of this. The only airport that I have been through that has free WiFi is in New Orleans. Everywhere else you pay if you want access. What a country.

Re:We're paying for the privilege of being spied o (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 8 months ago | (#46121471)

Why exactly are you entitled to free WiFi in airports?

Re:We're paying for the privilege of being spied o (1)

dryeo (100693) | about 8 months ago | (#46121929)

Selling point to compete with American airports. In Canada the airports are financed by ticket surcharges so many people cross the line to fly out of American airports as the whole airport is free.

Re:We're paying for the privilege of being spied o (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 8 months ago | (#46122005)

How much gas are you burning to avoid $5 of WiFi fees?

Hate to break it to you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46120567)

But they can likely track you with airport wifi whether you're using it or not.

Re:Hate to break it to you (1)

davecb (6526) | about 8 months ago | (#46120837)

Sure, but the WiFi analyzer on my phone will say "Holy cow, Dave, that's an insanely loud transmitter on channel 11, I'm going to have to shut down now or I'll blow".

Sorry.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46120605)

At least they apologized.

YVR (Vancouver Airport) WiFi is so useless. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46120607)

I would like to know CSEC would get from YVR WiFi. It is so slow that it is useless except for slow surfing on internet web pages.

Re:YVR (Vancouver Airport) WiFi is so useless. (1)

CCarrot (1562079) | about 8 months ago | (#46120731)

I would like to know CSEC would get from YVR WiFi. It is so slow that it is useless except for slow surfing on internet web pages.

It's so slow because they're too busy vacuuming the data off of your device, perhaps?

Re:YVR (Vancouver Airport) WiFi is so useless. (2)

davester666 (731373) | about 8 months ago | (#46121409)

and they don't have the budget of the NSA...they only have a single computer with a Core2Duo to do all the computers in the airport

Things You Shouldn't Take Abroad (1)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | about 8 months ago | (#46120653)

It seems the fact you travel internationally is a great reason to keep tabs on you. Add mobile phones and laptops to the list of things you shouldn't carry when traveling internationally if you wish to avoid security hassle, along with explosives, guns, drugs, knives, scissors, nail clippers, tweezers, breast milk, toothpicks, sports equipment, medicines, tent pegs, children, people named Mohammed....

Re:Things You Shouldn't Take Abroad (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 8 months ago | (#46120969)

But traveling without a mobile phone could itsself be taken as a sign of suspicion. It's abnormal behavior, and might be expected of someone trying to avoid tracking.

Here's what's funny about all of this (5, Insightful)

Xaedalus (1192463) | about 8 months ago | (#46120759)

Democratic governments the world over are in a classic catch-22: they're damned if they do and they're damned if they don't. Prior to 9-11, we had pretty good safeguards in place against domestic spying. Watergate and the revelations of what J. Edgar Hoover did put a bad taste in everyone's mouth in the US about domestic spying. Then a bunch of nihilistic apostate Saudis flew airplanes into the Twin Towers, and over 3000 Americans died in the space of a single morning. The entire world watches in shock and horror--and then following America's lead, immediately begins investigating how this could have happened. And as the US discovers very quickly, it happened due to intentional inefficiencies and silo-ization of intelligence.

If there is one thing we Americans cannot stand more than anything else, it's inefficiency. We want our government/society/economy to WORK, dammit! Make it effective and efficient! The families of 9/11, and the politicians discover to their horror that this all could have easily been prevented, had we made our internal counterintelligence and domestic crime monitoring more efficient. The worst part is that 9/11 really could have been prevented --so easily--, and that's what led to the Patriot Act, the NSA, all of it. And it's not just America that learns this lesson.

So now the Canadians are following in America's footsteps, because no government, Liberal or Conservative, wants to be blamed for the next attack. And, there always will be a next attack. Maybe not from Islamists, maybe not from brown-skinned people, but there always will be. No one wants to be the one person on the news who's faced with the "Why didn't you stop this!" question. Imagine if you will what would have happened if John Ashcroft and President Bush had stepped up together following 9/11 and said "We understand that this could have been prevented if the FBI, CIA, and NSA had shared their information, but we're not about to dismantle federal policy to facilitate that because we don't want to turn America into a police state". Just imagine for a moment, the response that would have come to that statement from an enraged nation--let alone the entire state of New York.

What's really, really funny is that on /., we are all pro-privacy, pro-dismantling of the security apparatus. But none of us ever stop to consider if we'd change our tune, if one of our family or loved ones was suddenly, inexplicably killed in a horrible way--and then discover that said death could have been easily prevented if only X and Y agencies had bothered to share their information. And here's why this problem will never be solved--most of us have never been confronted with the desire for justice/vengeance, the anger of being a victim of system failure, and then understanding that there was a reason for the inefficiencies in the first place. Knowing what we know now, can any of us truly say that we'd face 300 million people (or 20 million if you're Canadian) and say "I know we could have easily prevented this tragedy, but we're not going to put in place the fixes that would prevent a future tragedy like this because we believe the outcome would be worse than the disease." And if you are willing to do so, are you willing to face a lifetime of condemnation and excommunication from everything you hold dear?

Nah, the biggest joke is that this shit HAS to happen, and then we have to go through years of rollbacks and abuses and fighting to undo all the damage, only to have it happen all over again and a new generation has to relearn the lessons. This is life, people. This is human nature. There is no answer, there is only the cycle.

They'll mod you down for telling the truth (1)

arcite (661011) | about 8 months ago | (#46120811)

But you're completely correct. The world is going back to a bi-polar state, with the democratic westernized economies on one side, and authoritarian non-democratic countries on another (Russia, Iran, China ect...). To the victor goes the spoils. For there to be victory, the USA (and her many allies) must stay on top of the game.

More like uno-polar (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 8 months ago | (#46121397)

with the democratic westernized economies on one side, and authoritarian non-democratic countries

Say what again? I do not see a huge difference these days between Russia and over-regulated western countries controlled by what is essentially a permanent ruling class of government workers. Russia is just a tiny bit more brazen about what it does... a TINY bit more.

Re:Here's what's funny about all of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46120921)

The problem is that every path is fraught by peril. Keeping agencies "stovepiped" means that an attack may not be stopped that could have been, provided knowledge from one department was put with another. Mixing everything together would allow someone to grab everything and sell it to the highest bidder (a la Ames.)

My question is... what is the lesser of the evils... attacks on a country's soil that could be devastating [1][2], or finding out the country is snooping on you. Maybe the best answer is some data destruction/isolation policy... where the data cannot wind up being used in a court of law, but can be used to prevent an attack.

This is a decision governments have to make. Of course, there may be an alternative of having an international agency that does the monitoring work for potential attacks and would alert the LEOs in a country... but no nation would allow something like this to usurp their sovereignty, and how would this agency be kept in check.

It is a crappy thing, but groups who will attack any country, at any time, anywhere are now the norm these days.

[1]: It wouldn't take much, something happening in a city, then someone hacking OnStar to stop all cars so evacuation is impossible.

[2]: Don't think your country is immune. Even if a country is not doing anything to provoke the radicals, it might be attacked just to that the radical group can be anywhere. Even Germany which is politically neutral in the ME was savagely attacked because they were not expecting such ferocity.

Re:Here's what's funny about all of this (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 8 months ago | (#46120965)

^Excellent post.

Re:Here's what's funny about all of this (4, Insightful)

wasteoid (1897370) | about 8 months ago | (#46121007)

You don't have to track everyone's movements and monitor all calls to stop terrorist attacks. Having less porous security would be a much easier way to stop attacks without dialing up the police state to Orwellian levels.

Putting locks on cockpit doors and doing better background checks of airport personnel have far better impacts and don't require obscene surveillance.

Re:Here's what's funny about all of this (2)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 8 months ago | (#46121377)

This exactly. Reinforced cockpit doors, not a new thing since El Al instituted them decades ago would probably alone have stopped 9/11 all by themselves. But it was "too expensive" and airlines didn't want them or the regulations regarding their use.

Re:Here's what's funny about all of this (4, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | about 8 months ago | (#46122047)

It's worth nothing that reinforced cockpit doors appear to have caused at least one plane crash where the pilot decided to commit suicide and take the rest of the passengers along for the ride.

So they're not a cost-free option.

It's also worth noting that, if the passengers had known what the hijackers had planned, they wouldn't have got anywhere near the cockpit doors before being beaten to death. The real flaw was the expectation that the hijackers would let them off in a day or two so they should just sit back and wait.

If we'd been beating the crap out of hijackers for decades instead of going along with them, 9/11 would never have happened.

Re:Here's what's funny about all of this (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 8 months ago | (#46121041)

Pretty much agree. Intelligence Analyst here, since before 9/11, and I've seen the increased emphasis on data-sharing and data collection in order to prevent future attacks, which we've done multiple times contrary to slashdot groupthink. I don't like the direction our country is going any more than anyone else. I wonder what's happened to the 4th amendment, among other amendments. But the focus on gathering data and sharing it with other agencies is not a power grab by nature (some bad eggs not withstanding), but a well-intentioned plan to prevent the next 9/11, or worse attack.

Re:Here's what's funny about all of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46121115)

For now...

Re:Here's what's funny about all of this (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 8 months ago | (#46121827)

a well-intentioned plan to prevent the next 9/11,

Road to hell...

Re:Here's what's funny about all of this (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46121157)

What's really, really funny is that on /., we are all pro-privacy, pro-dismantling of the security apparatus. But none of us ever stop to consider if we'd change our tune, if one of our family or loved ones was suddenly, inexplicably killed in a horrible way--and then discover that said death could have been easily prevented if only X and Y agencies had bothered to share their information.

That much is true. But then, your narrative is that you fix sharing problems by collecting more information. That fails to parse. Especially when, post 9/11, you have both this expanded collection program and specific information that was ignored and did exactly zero to prevent the Boston bombing. But no matter, I'm sure there is some use this information vacuuming program is good for. If it happens to have some overlap with preventing terrorism, well, it's nothing that can't be fixed. </sarcasm>

Re:Here's what's funny about all of this (2)

Suffering Bastard (194752) | about 8 months ago | (#46121195)

What's really, really funny is that on /., we are all pro-privacy, pro-dismantling of the security apparatus. But none of us ever stop to consider if we'd change our tune, if one of our family or loved ones was suddenly, inexplicably killed in a horrible way--and then discover that said death could have been easily prevented if only X and Y agencies had bothered to share their information.

Hard for me to see any humor here. Sounds like a rather tragic state of affairs.

A problem with your argument is that it assumes that the current security apparatuses would have prevented 9/11, and there's no way to know that. It doesn't seem like the NSA is at all concerned with stopping "terrorism," they're more hell bent on spying for their own power initiatives. Are we really any more secure now than we were in 2000? I'd submit not. And if, after proclaiming the actions of the NSA and national security legislation as crimes against the American people, an attack occurred on American soil that killed innocent Americans, I would not back down but fortify my arguments against fear and vengeance as motivation for public security policy.

Knowing what we know now, can any of us truly say that we'd face 300 million people..."I know we could have easily prevented this tragedy, but we're not going to put in place the fixes that would prevent a future tragedy like this because we believe the outcome would be worse than the disease."

I would, and did, advocate actual fixes, not the sham of security theater we have today.

This is human nature. There is no answer, there is only the cycle.

No. Human nature evolves. Each cycle we get a little better, even if barely perceptibly. Defeatist attitudes only hold us all back.

Re:Here's what's funny about all of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46121229)

But none of us ever stop to consider if we'd change our tune, if one of our family or loved ones was suddenly, inexplicably killed in a horrible way--and then discover that said death could have been easily prevented if only X and Y agencies had bothered to share their information.

Fuck you, you pathetic apologist scum.

Re:Here's what's funny about all of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46121297)

20 million if you're Canadian

35 millions. Just saying.

https://www.google.com/search?q=canada+population

Re:Here's what's funny about all of this (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 8 months ago | (#46121315)

And as the US discovers very quickly, it happened due to intentional inefficiencies and silo-ization of intelligence.

No, that is not why it happened but framing it that way is seductively authoritarian and one of the main reasons for the creation of the modern surveillance state. Having spent billions to stop more attacks, what do we have to show for it? The Boston bombers plus a whole host of "white" attacks like mass shootings and the NSA's official record of having stopped precisely zero attacks on USA soil.

The reason these things happen is because the real world is an immensely complex system - to say that significant acts of violence are "easily prevented" is to indulge in the fallacy of perfect knowledge after the fact.

The real inefficiency here is the futile attempt to model the real world through "collect it all" surveillance. It's been a huge bust for its stated purpose and it's had the knock-on effect of jamming up everybody trying to get on with the business of living their lives - businesses and people spending time and money to shield themselves from the surveillance as well as the psychological toll on the entire populace that in the back of their heads they are evaluating if their actions might be misinterpreted by the invisible and unaccountable watchers.

The only way to win is not to play the game. We need to get away with from the authoritarian framing of the problem of our society being constantly vulnerable and change from a surveillance state to a resilience state - where we accept life has risks, where we will take precautions proportional to the risks and spend the rest of our resources on living productive lives instead of lives of irrational fear.

Re:Here's what's funny about all of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46121437)

This is pure apologist nonsense. What apparatus caught two young men before they blew up bombs in Boston?
You fallacy is that you assume this spying it for "terrorism" prevention. Good luck with that.

Re:Here's what's funny about all of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46121453)

What's funny is that the 9/11 commission states that the intelligence gathering part was already sufficient to stop 9/11. What was not sufficient was the sharing of information between agencies.

The need to further ramp up intelligence gathering to unconstitutional proportions is a myth.

Re:Here's what's funny about all of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46121513)

Your own post provides the counter-argument. "Sharing" and cooperation between different LEAs, and domestic spying on everyone, are not the same things. 9/11 could have been prevented merely with the former. The latter was not and is not necessary. If LEAs have real information on real threats, obtained through legal methods of search and surveillance, then by all means, they should work with each other. This does not mean that all LEAs now have a mandate to collect information by any means necessary in order to be able to prosecute everyone for everything.

Let's not forget that the majority of 'credible' threats that have been stopped since 9/11 and the newfound cooperation between LEAs has resulted mostly in the FBI busting their own plots that they came up with and entrapped others in. Do you feel legitimately safer now that the lowest, dumbest tier of potential terrorists have been preemptively thwarted? Let's also not forget that Boston went completely apeshit over a few goofy electronic lights that advertised Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and not a peep was heard before two guys blew up the marathon. We can plainly see what the post-9/11 panic and LEA response has done for the quality of our anti-terrorism investigations, i.e. not a goddam thing.

I would note, however, that the number of high-profile busts related to anti-establishment hacking has shot up quite dramatically in recent years. Wonder how that happened. The FBI has done a great job of putting political dissidents in jail. Now all you have to do is try to equate dissidents with terrorists, and you'll be ready to run for office.

Re:Here's what's funny about all of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46121535)

Your entire point is contingent on the assertion that these changes have actually made us safer, and would prevent another 9/11. Would you change your tone if someone in your family was searched without probable cause, held without trial, or otherwise abused? Will you face 300 million people and explain why you wasted a huge chunk of their lives?

Nah, the biggest joke is that this shit HAS to happen, and then we have to go through years of rollbacks and abuses and fighting to undo all the damage, only to have it happen all over again and a new generation has to relearn the lessons. This is life, people. This is human nature. There is no answer, there is only the cycle.

When do we get back to the part of the cycle when people believed in progress?

Re:Here's what's funny about all of this (1)

asylumx (881307) | about 8 months ago | (#46121719)

This is life, people. This is human nature. There is no answer, there is only the cycle.

Acceptance is one thing we do NOT excel at!

Boston Marathon Bombing (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 8 months ago | (#46121909)

Your furious rhetoric is invalid.

If anything, the NSA probably let it fucking happen as justification for even more power.

Re:Here's what's funny about all of this (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about 8 months ago | (#46121979)

no government, Liberal or Conservative, wants to be blamed for the next attack

Except government is never held accountable. They are really interested in skimming money off security programs, and of course protecting themselves personally from retaliation for the evil shit they've ordered done to people. As the political elite becomes wealthier and untouchable through police state measures, apologists like you help quiet the population as its standard of living and safety is reduced by claiming the government is acting in good faith

Re:Here's what's funny about all of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46122071)

It's not that your information gathering needs to improve. The problem is your foreign policy. Fix that and you might find fewer people have reasons to hate you.

AC

Very few technical details in this story (1)

MisterP (156738) | about 8 months ago | (#46120763)

"the spy service was provided with information captured from unsuspecting travellers' wireless devices by the airport's free Wi-Fi system over a two-week period."

Like what? Mac addresses? Mac address + IPs it connected to?

"The document shows the federal intelligence agency was then able to track the travellers for a week or more as they — and their wireless devices — showed up in other Wi-Fi "hot spots" in cities across Canada and even at U.S. airports."

How? Did CSEC have a deal with companies providing wifi?

Re:Very few technical details in this story (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 8 months ago | (#46121015)

Quite possibly, actually. In order to avoid legal issues (mostly being falsely accused of any crimes committed from their hotspot), many businesses don't run their own. They instead pay a specialist to administer it, handle legal defense and deal with the hassle of authenticating users (typically via a captive portal) to prevent abuse. Hundreds of shops and restaurants might run APs in a city, but only a couple of companies actually administer them all. So it's plausible that CSEC could have arrangements with them.

Airport wifi (4, Interesting)

grub (11606) | about 8 months ago | (#46120773)


"free" airport wifi is a vacuum operation. Interesting note: we were heading out on a vacation a couple of weeks ago. I plugged my iPad into the USB charger in the plane and got a nice popup (typing this from the screen shot I took):

Trust This Computer?
Your settings and data will be
accessible from this computer when
connected.

[Trust] [Don't Trust]

So charging on planes is another thing to avoid for me.

Re:Airport wifi (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46120867)

Use a condom. [int3.cc]

Re:Airport wifi (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46121807)

Or LockedUSB http://www.lockedusb.com

Re:Airport wifi (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 8 months ago | (#46120999)

To be fair the reason the "charger" on the aircraft appears to be a computer is because it is, in fact, a computer. On some versions you can browse flash drives for media to play, on others the functionality isn't enabled and you can only charge. Even when they are charge only though it's a normal USB port and does a handshake to negotiate how much current to supply, as per the spec.

Moral of the story is you need to get a charging only USB cable, if such a thing exists for Apple devices. The data lines are physically disconnected.

Re:Airport wifi (1)

pauljlucas (529435) | about 8 months ago | (#46121039)

I plugged my iPad into the USB charger in the plane ...

What planes/airlines have built-in USB ports? That aside, it's interesting that it's more than just a dumb USB-shaped port (akin to the wall dongles that merely convert a wall-outlet into a USB port). The fact that you got that message implies there's actually a computer on the other end in addition to just power.

Re:Airport wifi (1)

grub (11606) | about 8 months ago | (#46121089)

This was on an Air Canada flight heading south. I don't recall the type of plane, sorry. Heading back on WestJet had no USB port.

Re:Airport wifi (2)

0123456 (636235) | about 8 months ago | (#46121127)

This was on an Air Canada flight heading south. I don't recall the type of plane, sorry. Heading back on WestJet had no USB port.

Every Air Canada plane I've flown on in the last few years that had in-flight entertainment also had USB ports for charging. They also have 110V power, though that's only for one seat in two back in cattle class.

Re:Airport wifi (1)

rgbscan (321794) | about 8 months ago | (#46121949)

I recently traveled to the UK and back on Delta on an A330. Their info-tainment system in the seatback had an 8 inch touchscreen panel with both a headphone jack and a usb jack. Plugging it in to USB allowed charging and streaming of any local content you had (provided it was non-drm'd). It was this system, although I couldn't id the manufacturer: http://boardingarea.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/pointmetotheplane/files/2013/08/tumblr_mqccx6yrK41spl3lco1_1280.jpg

Don't we even care anymore? (2)

ah.clem (147626) | about 8 months ago | (#46120775)

I no longer expect outrage, as that seems to be beyond our capacity anymore, but it feels like we treat this kind of news as if it's just trivial bullshit. Has it come to that? Doesn't anyone call their representatives, no matter how deaf they might be? Anyone write letters to their local newspaper about this kind of erosion of personal liberties? Anyone trying to get someone to listen and pay attention, or are we all just willing to head blindly to the kill-floor, tweeting and texting the latest lolcat?

It seems to me that we are giving our lives away for nothing.

That Palin Thing says: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46120913)

"How's that 'hopey-change' stuff workin' out for ya?"

:: winks ::

:: snaps gum ::

"Whoops! Wrong country! They don't have a guy who pals around with terrorists for a President! Nevermind!"

Joint security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46121003)

By the very nature of these 'joint security' efforts; it may be illegal for say the Canadian side to look at Canadians but the same data is "legally" accessed by joint nation who can freely spying on foreigners. ie: they spy on everyone.

Becoming Amish is growing more tempting every day, except for the religious part of it.

P.S. What is this 'new game-changing' tech? what exploit is it using', tracking how. If not a direct exploit, I would guess its collaboration on ISPs that relay MAC/CPU-ID with communications that is consolidated by the Orwellians .

cue the sheeple (0)

nblender (741424) | about 8 months ago | (#46121005)

"If you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to hide" in 3.....2.....1......

Re:cue the sheeple (0)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 8 months ago | (#46121207)

No, don't cue them. Tell them to shut the fuck up. And you shut the fuck up too. The sooner this idea goes away the better everyone is. And you posting it unprovoked, for no reason other than showing off your badge of stupidity, is not helping.
Mod us both off topic, please.

Re:cue the sheeple (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 8 months ago | (#46121551)

If I have nothing to hide, you have no reason to look.

Nothing compared to the Xbox One (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46121111)

98%+ of all Xbox One users have the console connected to the Internet, and have the Kinect 2 sensor bar connected to the console, meeting the full requirements of Bill Gates and his NSA partners. Every fully deployed Xbox One captures facial photographs of everyone that enters and leaves the room, and uploads said photos each day (in a 'disguised' cloud activity) to NSA servers, where facial recognition software gives an identification code to each individual person, and attempts to find an actual name.

The NSA already know the location of each console, of course, via the information gathered from the ISP used by the console's owner. This provides a perfect starting point for assumptive facial recognition approaches.

Every online Xbox One reports this fact to an NSA server. The NSA can, within milliseconds, 'take over' any Xbox One, "seeing" and "hearing" in real-time through any of its Kinect 2 sensors.Since the Xbox One is a significantly more powerful computer than an average PC, the NSA can upload payloads to a specific console (or set of consoles- say all those owned by 'Muslims' in a given town). Such a payload can activate independent spy functions, even when the console is offline. Such functions can include 'trigger' conditions that cause the console to begin recording sound and video to its internal hard-drive, for later uploading.

When the Xbox One is in its "powered down" state (but still plugged into the mains", 100% of the Kinect 2 spy functions, including two CPU cores, are fully active. Don't believe me? Put a power meter on the plug of your console, then compare the Xbox One power usage to the PS4 in the same mode. The 20% plus of the Xbox One hardware completely dedicated to NSA functionality is ALWAYS powered- and there is no dispute about this fact.

The Xbox One is ALWAYS examining the contents of the room, ESPECIALLY when the light is low or off. Low light triggers the "sexual movement" algorithms of the Kinect 'Human motion aware' sensor system, the one that uses a military grade 'time of flight' depth camera that Bill Gates spent multiple billions of dollars to develop.

Only yesterday, Blair's current puppet, the UK's Prime Minister Cameron, gave a speech stating that the public LOVE the idea of full surveillance activities by the government, and that TV drama shows where the 'good guys' use illegal spying to catch the 'bad guys' PROVE the need for such projects (I bet you think I'm joking- but this was EXACTLY what this clown said in the House of Commons). This is how stupid they think betas are, and the fact that loads of you here bought the atrociously inferior console this Xmas (1/2 the hardware ability of the competing PS4, for a much higher price) and then willingly connected the NSA Kinect 2 system to spy on you and your family demonstrates that they are more right than wrong in this opinion.

Re:Nothing compared to the Xbox One (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#46121907)

The Xbox One is ALWAYS examining the contents of the room, ESPECIALLY when the light is low or off. Low light triggers the "sexual movement" algorithms of the Kinect 'Human motion aware' sensor system, the one that uses a military grade 'time of flight' depth camera that Bill Gates spent multiple billions of dollars to develop.

You were so close to a successful troll attempt until that paragraph.

everyone does it but it does not make it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46121441)

If you do not think every major country is not engaging in this sort of activity you are living in a cave or something

SON OF A BITCH (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 8 months ago | (#46121553)

Last time I use the free wifi at Pearson. Wifi adapter disabled from now on!

Airport wifi (1)

SCHecklerX (229973) | about 8 months ago | (#46121621)

If you are using an Airport's WiFi without connecting to your trusted VPN, you'll get what you deserve. Airports are a wonderful place to play "Yes, I am that AP" and other fun games while bored hackers wait for their flights.

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