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Start with the good guys’ white hats —

http://surveillance.rsf.org/en/hacking-team/ – n.d.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/07/hacking-team-leaks-reveal-spyware-industrys-growth — 7/8/2015.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2015/07/08/hacking-team-iphone-android-malware/ – “Hacking Team’s $175,000 Apple Store And Google Play Surveillance Apps Flirt With Illegality” – 7/8/2015.

And let’s got on to the bad guys’ black hats (who could be the same guys or white-hat guys who have had their ideas / methods / products / processes stolen) —

According to the documents, 400GB of which have been published, Hacking Team has also been working with numerous repressive governments – something it has previously explicitly denied doing. It has not been possible to independently verify the veracity of the documents.

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jul/06/hacking-team-hacked-firm-sold-spying-tools-to-repressive-regimes-documents-claim — 7/6/2015.

As with other tools, like axes and guns, software has itself has neither consciousness nor conscience.  It doesn’t know who’s using it or how or for what noble or ignoble purpose, and the sawing will go this way: “Software doesn’t destroy, shield, or steal digital assets: programmers and end-users do.”

And now return to the good guys — so I freely presume the avatars of the lawful to be themselves lawful — and another electronic-communicating aspect of their problem with the bad guys of the certifiable kind:

The director of the FBI has warned that criminals and terrorists will be able to talk ‘with impunity’ if encryption goes too far.

James Comey said that anti-surveillance measures being deployed by the likes of Apple and Google will ‘inexorably affect my ability to do that job’ if they continue to expand.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3152226/Is-web-security-putting-DANGER-Criminals-terrorists-communicate-impunity-encryption-sophisticated-FBI-warns.html#ixzz3fP58ZMC5 – 7/7/2015.

Related: FBI – Cybercrime Page: “We are building our lives around our wired and wireless networks. The question is, are we ready to work together to defend them?

  • What is being hidden from whom?
  • What would be exploited by whom were it not kept safe?
  • Where is the war?

One of my distant correspondents noted of a small community project beneath his wing that he dared not display too much of physical improvements online for there were those in his village that might want a cut just because.

Those guys.


Greedy, jealous, suspicious.


Scale it up:

http://www.reuters.com/investigates/iran/#article/part1 – 11/11/2013.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/dec/01/wikileaks-cables-russia-mafia-kleptocracy – 12/1/2010.

Or scale it back down:

On May 1, 2014, a grand jury in the Western District of Pennsylvania indicted five members of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for 31 criminal counts, including: conspiring to commit computer fraud; accessing a computer without authorization for the purpose of commercial advantage and private financial gain; damaging computers through the transmission of code and commands; aggravated identity theft; economic espionage; and theft of trade secrets.

First paragraph description of one of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Cybercriminals (as viewed in July 2015).

It appears that not so many decades ago, technologists went to work on eliminating space as an impediment to forming basic social relationships while migrating the digitally empowered away from paper-based banking, gasoline-enabled shopping, and family-room television: mission accomplished.

In the process of eliminating so much work while producing incalculable savings, the same have done away with troves of evidence of physical bother: who needs cash, or even a courier, when numbers shuttled between computers move wealth?

Who needs a theater and ticket counter when the talented — whatever the talent — may put on a show, flash mob or flash bang, with the distribution of a signal from a cell phone?

What army is needed where one gunman — recruited online, minimally “handled” — can walk a weapon into some space and inside of a few minutes commit mass murder, damage a state’s tourist industry, or destroy a community’s sense of security in relation to racial or religious harmony?

For the west and geopolitical space integrating with the western mind (of the lawful), all of the traffic, however massive, ultimately educates, informs, or entertains while facilitating either comparatively healthy private and social behavior or behavior not yet codified.

A few of quite another mind — feudal, malignantly narcissistic, plainly malign by normative standards — diverge to disagree in expression and action.

Given free expression (short of direct conspiracy or incitement to crime), conflict between the lawful and the lawless has now long been moved to an electronic boundary between publically empowered and trusted investigators and privately enfranchised criminals, and along that boundary on both sides, software — code is king wherever it “wins” and for as long as it works — has become shield and sword.

Those of us who spend a fair part of our day online reading, writing, shopping, and watching YouTube videos, are going to be witness to and monitors of this challenge to the lawful control of information for some time to come.

Related on BackChannels: “FTAC — On the Opposition of the Lawless to the Influence of Israel” (June 19, 2015).

Related in the News: Reuters.  “FBI says thwarted Islamic State-inspired attacks on July 4.”  July 9, 2015.

Update – Reference – July 10, 2015

Levine, Mike and Jack Date.  “22 Million Affected by OPM Hack, Officials Say.”  ABC News, July 9, 2015.

Waddell, Kaveh and Dustin Volz.  “OPM Announces More Than 21 Million Affected by Second Data Breach.”  National Journal, June 9, 2015.

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