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Canada Government Privacy Wireless Networking

Canadian Spy Agency Snooped Travelers With Airport Wi-Fi 159

Posted by Soulskill
from the mapping-everyone's-hockey-allegiances dept.
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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Canadian Spy Agency Snooped Travelers With Airport Wi-Fi

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  • Three words (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 31, 2014 @12:07PM (#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.

  • by Xaedalus (1192463) <<Xaedalys> <at> <yahoo.com>> on Friday January 31, 2014 @12:38PM (#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.

  • Re:Airport wifi (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 31, 2014 @12:48PM (#46120867)

    Use a condom. [int3.cc]

  • by dcw3 (649211) on Friday January 31, 2014 @12:56PM (#46120957) Journal

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

  • by wasteoid (1897370) on Friday January 31, 2014 @01:01PM (#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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 31, 2014 @01:16PM (#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>

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday January 31, 2014 @01:31PM (#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:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by compro01 (777531) on Friday January 31, 2014 @01:36PM (#46121357)

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

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