‏إظهار الرسائل ذات التسميات internet. إظهار كافة الرسائل
‏إظهار الرسائل ذات التسميات internet. إظهار كافة الرسائل

4/20/2016

Hoping for answers about blocks on internet calls, NGOs take telecom regulator to court







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Hoping for answers about blocks on internet calls, NGOs take telecom regulator to court


The temporary outage of internet-based calling services like WhatsApp and Viber caused a social media storm in October 2015, but the episode left more questions than it answered: Are internet-based calling services illegal in Egypt? Was the block imposed by the National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA)? And where do telecom companies and consumer rights fit into the equation?


A lawsuit scheduled to be heard Wednesday in the Administrative Court is hoping to force some answers. The suit, which was already postponed earlier this month, was filed against the NTRA by the NGOs Support Center for Information Technology and the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression.

The lawsuit aims to force the NTRA to release a list of the services or websites that have been blocked in Egypt in recent month and to divulge the criteria upon which they were blocked, explains Aziza al-Taweel, the  Support Center’s lawyer.

So far, Taweel says, the NTRA denies blocking WhatsApp and other voice calling services, but also maintains that such apps provide unlicensed international calls and are therefore illegal. “They are claiming that they need to be licensed first, while denying any blockage at the same time,” Taweel explains.

NTRA spokesperson Karim Soliman confirmed to Mada Masr that the regulatory body considers these services to be illegal, but added no further comments.

Did the NTRA block VoIP?
Questions about the NTRA’s stance on internet calls came to public attention in October 2015, when social media went into a rage after many users reported being unable to use internet calling apps like Viber, Skype, WhatsApp on 3G networks and ADSL. Disgruntled users’ reaction worsened after a few scattered statements by customer service operators of telecom companies on social media confirmed that the services had been blocked.

Shortly after, the services went back to working, with the usual poor quality on 3G networks. Both the telecom companies and the government regulator assured the public there was no blocking whatsoever.

Exactly what happened was, and remains, unclear. After nearly six months, there has been little clarification about the incident, highlighting the lack of transparency among the agencies responsible for enabling and regulating telecommunications in Egypt.

When Mada Masr investigated the issue in November 2015, Egypt’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology deflected any questions about the government’s plans for internet voice calls. Ministry spokesperson Mariam Fayez said such matters are in the hands of the National Telecom Regulatory Authority. Fayez declined to answer direct questions about whether the government is considering blocking VoIP services. The ministry is only concerned with strategic work, she said.

Meanwhile, the NTRA’s official media office refused repeated requests for information. Ali Anis, the NTRA’s Societal Interaction Director, told Mada Masr the authority has not blocked any services so far, and is not planning to do so.

All three of Egypt’s mobile phone companies — Mobinil, Etisalat and Vodafone — also insisted they took no action to block VoIP applications, apart from Skype, which has been blocked on 3G networks since 2010. Any problems with other applications were due to individual mobile phones or the applications themselves, company representatives said.

Telecom Egypt, the country’s landline monopoly and a major internet service provider, also insisted it is not blocking any applications, but refused to answer any further questions.

One could almost believe reports of service outages were a series of strange coincidences magnified by social media, or perhaps a technical glitch that affected users on different mobile networks, using different applications on different devices. And yet, a few accounts dispute the official narrative.

Before and during the outage in October, customer service representatives on Twitter clearly stated that the NTRA gave orders to block VoIP services.




One NTRA representative also reportedly told a journalist for news site DotMsr.com that the agency had blocked VoIP — reports the NTRA later denied. This call, however, has been used in court by Taweel and the defense team as a proof.
An industry insider, who would only speak on condition of anonymity, also told Mada Masr the telecom companies did indeed block VoIP services, and on direct orders of the government.



Who does the NTRA work for?

Whether or not the NTRA is actually behind the block on VoIP applications, the episode raises questions about whose interests the regulator serves.
By law, the NTRA’s mandate is to protect users and their rights, a responsibility the agency is given in Article 2 of Egypt’s 2003 telecommunication regulation law. However, Article 4 of the telecommunications law requires the NTRA to protect “National Security and the state’s top interests.” Attempts to regulate the use of VoIP apps shows what happens when user rights and national security come into conflict.
“It is arguable that the NTRA is enforcing the ban on unlicensed trafficking of international calls, which is a crime according to Article 72 of the Telecom Act. However, it is also arguable that in enforcing this ban, the NTRA is also preventing users from making VoIP calls to other users in Egypt, even if those calls are routed internationally via the internet,” says independent researcher Amr Gharbeia.
One of the arguments against VoIP services is that, without cooperation from app developers, Egyptian authorities are unable to trace or monitor calls made over apps — unlike international or local phone calls made on landlines and mobile phone networks. This, opponents of the technology say, is a major security issue. “Legally speaking, if a crime occurred and you wanted to check call records of a suspect for example, they won’t agree. A famous examplehappened in Italy, where they tried to get records from the VoIP operators but they refused to even negotiate,” says Khaled Hegazy, external affairs and legal director at Vodafone Egypt.
Amr Gharbeia, an independent researcher, believes the telecom companies’ opposition to VoIP stems more from financial motivations than security concerns. Every free or low-cost call through VoIP apps takes money out of the phone companies’ pockets. This is especially true for lucrative international calls, all of which have to run through Telecom Egypt’s infrastructure, keeping rates high. “The reason for banning VoIP is all economic and is hardly a privacy or security issue. The telecoms want to keep the users paying higher fees for services they can get for much better prices or for free, so they are trying to monopolize the international calls market,” Gharbeia explains.
Vodafone, for example, has clearly expressed its desire to block VoIP, in particular WhatsApp’s voice calling feature. In March 2015, after WhatsApp's voice calling service was launched, Vodafone Egypt sent a letter to NTRA asking about the legality of blocking the service “for the negative impact it has on the telecom sector.” However, according to Hegazy, NTRA never replied.
Hegazy, says that the telecom sector in Egypt, and in particular Telecom Egypt, has been hurt by these applications, although he was not willing to quantify how companies are affected.
“Telecom Egypt is the main international gateway for Egypt, so any international call must go through it. I think they are the most negatively affected in terms of revenues,” he says. “We earn almost the same amount from international calls as we do in local ones, so we are not really affected,” he adds, speaking of his own company.
However, telecom companies’ financial disclosures appear to belie claims that VoIP services are seriously affecting the industry.
Despite a sharp drop in landline subscribers over the last five years, Telecom Egypt, announced a 360 percent increase in Q3 net profits for this year, reaching LE1.2 billion, while Q2 net profits increased by 55 percent. Vodafone Egypt revenues rose from LE6.4 billion in the first six months of 2014 to LE7.01 billion in the first half of 2015.
Even Mobinil, which incurred losses from 2012-2014, appeared to rebound in 2015, reporting a 5.3 percent increase in profits three quarters of the way into 2015. Etisalat Misr’s revenues grew by 2.6 percent by the end of 2014 as well.
Anis of the NTRA also dismisses the idea that VoIP apps are doing serious damage. “The financial impact of these applications in not big to begin with, and it affects the telecom companies, not the sector as a whole,” he says.
Ironically, phone companies don’t seem to have a problem with using VoIP services when it suits them. Expanding Egypt’s call center industry remains a hallmark of the country’s economic development strategy. Among the most prominent call center operators is Vodafone Egypt, which provides call center services for affiliates around the world, from the UK to New Zealand. These businesses would not be sustainable if operators had to pay international calling rates to route calls through the landline network. “Call centers in Egypt do use VoIP services. However, it is not illegal, they have obtained a license since they started operating in the country, because otherwise, no one will come here and firms will open its call centers in other countries like India,” an industry source says.
This presents another bind for the NTRA, and perhaps explains some of their ambiguity about VoIP. Any economic or security interests that would be served by blocking VoIP have to be balanced against the potential fallout of speaking too strongly against the technology.
Digital security researcher Ramy Raouf says officially blocking VoIP would have particularly bad repercussions for the digital economy. “If you block Viber for example, you will also block a number of advertisers alongside it, which will severely affect traffic levels and investment," he says. “In 2011, when the internet was blocked during the revolution, the economy lost a lot of money as a result.”
Uncertainty about the official reaction toward these applications is not reassuring for any investor trying to enter the market, since it gives a bad idea about the Egyptian market as a whole, says Mahmoud al-Banhawy, a digital freedoms officer at the Support for Information Technology Center.
Hegazy disagrees. “Blocking these service in Saudi Arabia and UAE did not scare potential investors, nor will it do so here,” he argues.   
With such mixed messaging about VoIP, the role and real intentions of the sector’s regulator remain a mystery. The Communications Ministry deflected questions, as did the NTRA’s media office. Anis, the agency’s social interaction director, simply says the NTRA is currently studying the situation as a whole, in attempt to reach a compromise among competing interests. "We are only trying to set some determinants," he says. Customers, meanwhile, are left wondering where their rights fall into the equation, and waiting to see if VoIP apps are blocked overnight — a situation Wednesday’s lawsuit hopes to change.

8/15/2015

Cairo airport website hacked as Egyptians mark massacre

The website of Cairo's airport has been hacked as Egyptians marked the second anniversary of the mass killing of demonstrators in the capital.


The incident, where security forces shot dead almost 700 supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi as they dispersed a protest camp in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya Square, has remained a rallying point for the country's Muslim Brotherhood opposition.

"The revolution continues, and the earth does not drink blood," said the page, which bore the sign used by the protesters in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya Square.
By Friday afternoon, the homepage of the airport website was blocked entirely.


The apparent hacking came as police bolstered their presence in the capital in anticipation of protests after Friday's Muslim prayers.
Two years on from the incident, no police officers have faced trial over the killings in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya Square, but leaders and members of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood have.
About 10 police were killed during the dispersal, after coming under fire from several gunmen in the sprawling camp on a crossroads in eastern Cairo when they moved to break it up.
But rights groups have said that security forces used disproportionate force, killing many unarmed protesters in what Human Rights Watch said "probably amounted to crimes against humanity."
The New York-based group on Friday called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to launch an inquiry into the killings.
"Washington and Europe have gone back to business with a government that celebrates rather than investigates what may have been the worst single-day killing of protesters in modern history," deputy Middle East director Joe Stork said.
In Egypt, however, the government has always defended the dispersal of the protesters, insisting that the Muslim Brotherhood members were armed "terrorists".
Morsi, the country's first democratically elected leader, ruled for only a year before mass protests prompted the military to overthrow and detain him. He has since been sentenced to death.
President Sisi, the former leader of the army, had pledged to eradicate Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood.
The group has been blacklisted and most of its leaders arrested, severely restricting its ability to mobilise followers in protests.




Source:

___________

 Al Jazeera and agencies
Agence France-Presse reported.
http://www.ibtimes.com/
http://www.ibtimes.com/egypt-rabaah-massacre-anniversary-cairo-airport-website-hacked-rights-group-calls-2053961


9/03/2014

How #Hackers Targeted Celebrities' #Apple Accounts #iPhone



Hackers gained access to leaked nude photos purporting to be of dozens of A-list celebrities by an "all too common" tactic, according to Apple.
"After more than 40 hours of investigation, we have discovered that certain celebrity accounts were compromised by a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions, a practice that has become all too common on the Internet," Apple said in a statement today.
The targeted celebrities included Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton, and their purported photos were leaked online late Sunday.
The investigation found that none of the leaked photos were the result of any breach of Apple's systems, including iCloud and Find My iPhone, the company noted in its statement.





7/22/2014

Can You Do Real Work With the 30-Year-Old IBM 5150?

When IBM released its first personal computer, the 5150, 30 years ago, it was deliberately drab--black, gray, and low-key. That’s because IBM intended the 5150 to be a serious machine for people doing serious work

So how better to celebrate this important anniversary than by using the 5150 for what it was meant to do? Working on a 5150 seems to be a tall task in today's vastly accelerated computing world, however. Could a PC that’s as old as I am manage to email, surf the Web, produce documents, edit photos, and even tweet?
I sequestered myself for four days amid boxes of 5.25-inch floppy drives and serial cables to find out. The answer to my question turned out to be both yes and no--but more interesting was all the retro-computing magic I had to perform. In the end, my experiment proved two things:
  • People now use the PC for many things that weren't even conceived of in 1981, and the 5150, unsurprisingly, is woefully underpowered for those advanced tasks. But when you use it for the core computing tasks the 5150 was designed for, IBM's first PC has still got game.
  • Early floppy discs were just too darned small!

Day 1: Setting Up

I was interested in spending more time with the Model 5150 because it's the foundation of so much modern computing. For the past 30 years, the platform created by the IBM PC has served as the basis for personal computing innovation and progress. Today, most people use PCs that retain some level of compatibility with a computer system released three decades ago.
When I first set out to test the mettle of the 5150, I realized that this special challenge called for a unique test environment. I couldn't pull this off at my house; I would be too tempted to use modern computers as a crutch. I needed a secret bunker, a distant location where I could wrestle with vintage technology unhindered and uninterrupted. (Did I mention that I have a one-year-old at my house?)
After careful thought, I sequestered myself in an infrequently used room in the upstairs corner of my parents' house. The bulk of Day 1 consisted of moving equipment over. I needed to take not only the PC itself, but also what seemed like 15 metric tons of supporting hardware that I could use for repairs in case the PC broke. Among those supplies were a few dozen ISA expansion cards (including spare video cards, serial cards, and the like), a couple extra 5.25-inch floppy drives, some tools, and a box of assorted cables.

Day 2: Trying to Fix the Thing


Can You Do Real Work With the 30-Year-Old IBM 5150?

Day 2 began with a general survey of the PC. The first thing I did was open the case and assess what was inside. In the PC's five ISA expansion slots, I found a CGA video card, a memory expansion card, a floppy controller card, and a serial card for communicating with mice and other peripherals. For storage, my PC came equipped with a lone, full-height 5.25-inch 360KB DS/DD floppy drive. Thankfully, someone had maxed out the RAM at 640KB (yep, that's a massive 640 kilobytes--roughly 0.032 percent of the RAM on today's low-end PCs). When I looked for the processor, I found a surprise: One of this system's previous owners had replaced the Intel 8088 CPU with a Zilog V20 CPU.

Can You Do Real Work With the 30-Year-Old IBM 5150?

The V20, originally designed by NEC, was a pin-compatible enhancement of the 8088 that could run certain programs 30 percent faster than the 8088 could--even though it ran at the same 4.77MHz clock speed. But it wouldn’t be historically accurate to run such a speed demon for this challenge, so I replaced the V20 with an 8088 chip that I had in my collection.
Next, I hooked the machine to my period-authentic IBM 5153 CGA monitor and booted it up. I briefly had some trouble with the video connector on the CGA board, but after I cleaned it a bit, everything worked fine. Then I encountered the next obstacle: a bad RAM chip. The POST error code told me exactly which RAM chip was bad (okay, I cheated and looked it up on the Internet using a netbook I had with me). Luckily, this socketed chip (a 4164C, to be precise) could be easily swapped out--but I didn't have a replacement on hand.
Despite the malfunctioning RAM, the machine seemed to work well. The 5150 contains, as the Apple II did, a full version of BASIC in ROM that loads right up if you don't boot from a disk.

Can You Do Real Work With the 30-Year-Old IBM 5150?

Targeted mostly at computers without floppy drives (the lowest-priced 5150 sold with 16KB of RAM and no drives), this version of BASIC could save programs only to cassette tapes.
You read that right: Like other personal computers of the era, the 5150 came equipped with a cassette port on the back.

Can You Do Real Work With the 30-Year-Old IBM 5150?

With the appropriate cable, users could save and load programs from a standard Philips compact cassette tape. The tech was slow and poorly implemented on the PC, but cassette players (and tapes) were orders of magnitude cheaper than floppy drives in 1981.

Stuck in 40 Columns

Once I booted into BASIC, I noticed that the machine's display was stuck in 40-column mode (that is, capable of showing only 40 columns of letters on the screen at once). As a business machine, the 5150 supported an 80-column display. Switching it was possible, but I didn't remember how.
Instead of a software-based BIOS, IBM equipped the 5150 with a series of dip switches on the motherboard for configuring basic system parameters, such as what kind of video card you're using, how much RAM the system has, and how many floppy drives are installed. I saw that all the dip switches on this PC's motherboard were set correctly for 80-column CGA, so I was stumped.
Next I booted into PC DOS 3.3 (PC DOS is what IBM called its version of MS-DOS) off a floppy disk. Still 40 columns. Then I remembered that there was some way to change the video mode in DOS. I thumbed through an authentic PC DOS 3.3 paper manual to find the solution: A DOS command called "MODE" sets the video mode. The mode I needed was called "CG80," which set up a color, 80-column mode in DOS. Yes, 80 columns at last!
Somewhere along the way, I decided to add a second 360KB floppy drive to make my journey easier. Thinking ahead, I had brought a half-height unit (pulled from another PC years ago) along from my house the day before. Doing serious work on a single-floppy-drive machine involves a lot of disk swapping, which is never fun.

6/10/2014

#Google glass


Learn everything about Google Glass including the latest news, Glassware updates, new Explorer Stories, how to keep in touch, and more.





3/28/2014

#Facebook Creates Team to ‘Beam’ Internet Everywhere on Earth #spy #NSA #social_media

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company is launching a Connectivity Lab, a team of scientists tasked with bringing the Internet to remote places on the planet using new techniques, including beaming it down from the sky.
       
                           For better spying on us 





Zuckerberg said the team of about a dozen people includes scientists in the field of aeronautics and communications. Facebook has hired new employees from organizations like NASA, the National Optical Astronomy Observatory and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Facebook also said it hired five people from Ascenta, a UK-based company that developed the world’s longest-flying unmanned solar aircraft.
The Connectivity Lab is part of Zuckerberg’s previously announced Internet.orginitiative, which aims to bring connections to parts of the planet where the Web is unavailable. He said achieving that goal will mean inventing new technologies, and said the lab will work with drones, satellites and lasers.
Earlier this month, Facebook was in advanced talks to buy Titan, a New Mexico-based maker of solar-powered drones that might one day be able to beam the Internet down to the planet’s surface, allowing access in remote places on the planet.
A video posted on the Internet.org website Thursday shows an aerial view that looks as if it were taken from the cockpit on a plane.
A voiceover asks viewers to imagine when the entire planet gets the Internet. “It doesn’t get twice as good, it gets, like, a bazillion times as good,” it says. Then, a solar-powered plane appears in the bottom of the screen, evidently beaming the Internet down to what looks like a mountainous landscape.
The plan, according to a post on the Internet.org site, is to transmit an Internet connection by sending infrared light beams to the earth, using satellites for rural areas and solar powered aircraft for more suburban areas that lack Internet connections.
The Connectivity Lab, a completely in-house effort, stands in contrast to recent acquisitions Facebook has made. On Tuesday, the company said it had agreed to Acquire Oculus VR, a maker of virtual reality goggles, for $2 billion. And in February, it announced a $19 billion deal to acquire WhatsApp, a mobile messaging service.

3/02/2014

Largest single personal data hack ever? 360mn stolen account credentials found online

A cyber security firm has reported a “mind boggling” cache of stolen credentials which has been put up for sale on online black markets. A total of 360 million accounts were affected in a series of hacks, one of which seems to be the biggest in history.

Alex Holden, chief information security officer of Hold Security LLC, said that the firm had uncovered the data over the past three weeks.

He said that 360 million personal account records were obtained in separate attacks, but one single attack seems to have obtained some 105 million records which could make it the biggest single data breach to date, Reuters reports. “The sheer volume is overwhelming,” said Holden in a statement on Tuesday.

“These mind boggling figures are not meant to scare you and they are a product of multiple breaches which we are independently investigating. This is a call to action,” he added.

Hold Security said that as well as 360 million credentials, hackers were also selling 1.25 billion email addresses, which may be of interest to spammers.

The huge treasure trove of personal details includes user names, which are most often email addresses, and passwords, which in most cases are unencrypted.

Hold Security uncovered a similar breach in October last year, but the tens of millions of records had encrypted passwords, which made them much more difficult for hackers to use.

“In October 2013, Hold Security identified the biggest ever public disclosure of 153 million stolen credentials from Adobe Systems Inc. One month later we identified another large breach of 42 million credentials from Cupid Media,”
 Hold Security said in statement.

Holden said he believes that in many cases the latest theft has yet to be publically reported and that the companies that have been attacked are unaware of it. He added that he will notify the companies concerned as soon as his staff has identified them. 

“We have staff working around the clock to identify the victims,”
 he said. 

However, he did say that the email addresses in question are from major providers such as AOL Inc, Google Inc, Yahoo Inc, and Microsoft Corp, as well as “almost all” Fortune 500 companies and nonprofit organizations. 

Heather Bearfield, who runs cybersecurity for an accounting firm Marcum LLP, told Reuters that while she had no information about Hold Security’s findings, she believed that it was quite plausible as hackers can do more with stolen credentials than they can with stolen credit cards, as people often use the same login and password for many different accounts. 

“They can get access to your actual bank account. That is huge. That is not necessarily recoverable funds,”she said. 

The latest revelation by Hold Security comes just months after the US retailer Target announced that 110 million of their customers had their data stolen by hackers. Target and the credit and debit card companies concerned said that consumers do not bear much risk as funds are rapidly refunded in fraud losses.

Reuters / Kacper Pempel

2/25/2014

Western spy agencies build ‘cyber magicians’ to manipulate online discourse



Secret units within the 'Five Eyes" global spying network engage in covert online operations that aim to invade, deceive, and control online communities and individuals through the spread of false information and use of ingenious social-science tactics.
Such teams of highly trained professionals have several main objectives, such as “to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet” and “to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable,”The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald reported based on intelligence documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The new information comes via a document from the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG) of Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), entitled 'The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations,' which is top secret and only for dissemination within the Five Eyes intelligence partnership that includes Britain, the US, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
Image from firstlook.org
Image from firstlook.org
The document outlines what tactics are used to achieve JTRIG’s main objectives. Among those tactics that seek to “discredit a target” include “false flag operations” (posting material online that is falsely attributed to a target), fake victim blog posts (writing as a victim of a target to disseminate false information), and posting “negative information” wherever pertinent online.
Other discrediting tactics used against individuals include setting a "honey-trap" (using sex to lure targets into compromising situations), changing a target's photo on a social media site, and emailing or texting "colleagues, neighbours, friends etc."
To "discredit a company," GCHQ may "leak confidential information to companies/the press via blog...post negative information on appropriate forums [or] stop deals/ruin business relationships."
JTRIG's ultimate purpose, as defined by GCHQ in the document, is to use "online techniques to make something happen in the real world or cyber world." These online covert actions follow the “4 D's:” deny, disrupt, degrade, deceive.
Image from firstlook.org
Image from firstlook.org

As Greenwald pointed out, the tactics employed by JTRIG are not used for spying on other nations, militaries, or intelligence services, but for “traditional law enforcement” against those merely suspected of crimes. These targets can include members of Anonymous, “hacktivists,” or really any person or entity GCHQ deems worthy of antagonizing.
“[I]t is not difficult to see how dangerous it is to have secret government agencies being able to target any individuals they want – who have never been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crimes – with these sorts of online, deception-based tactics of reputation destruction and disruption,” Greenwald wrote.
In addition, the targets do not need to have ties to terror activity or pose any national security threat. More likely, targets seem to fall closer to political activists that may have, for instance, used denial of service tactics, popular with Anonymous and hacktivists, which usually do only a limited amount of damage to a target.
Image from firstlook.org
Image from firstlook.org

“These surveillance agencies have vested themselves with the power to deliberately ruin people’s reputations and disrupt their online political activity even though they’ve been charged with no crimes, and even though their actions have no conceivable connection to terrorism or even national security threats,”Greenwald wrote.
In addition to the personal attacks on targets, JTRIG also involves the use of psychological and social-science tactics to steer online activism and discourse. The document details GCHQ’s “Human Science Operations Cell,” which focuses on “online human intelligence” and “strategic influence and disruption”that are used to dissect how targets can be manipulated using “leaders,” “trust,” “obedience,” and“compliance.”
Using tested manipulation tactics, JTRIG attempts to influence discourse and ultimately sow discord through deception.
When reached for comment by The Intercept, GCHQ avoided answering pointed questions on JTRIG while insisting its methods were legal.
“It is a longstanding policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters. Furthermore, all of GCHQ’s work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorized, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight, including from the Secretary of State, the Interception and Intelligence Services Commissioners and the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee. All our operational processes rigorously support this position,” GCHQ stated.


Image from firstlook.org

2/21/2014

Will #WhatsApp Reach 1 Billion Users Faster Than #Facebook Did?

It appears that the billion-user club is about to get a new member.

Facebook announced the acquisition of messaging app WhatsApp on Wednesday, a deal worth up to $19 billion in cash and stock that puts serious muscle behind Facebook's international reach.
In a call with investors to outline the acquisition, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and whatsapp CEO Jan Koum hinted multiple times that they expect WhatsApp to become a billion-user platform, a milestone that Facebook eclipsed less than 18 months ago.

"WhatsApp is the only widely used app we've ever seen that has more engagement and a higher percent of people using it daily than Facebook itself," Zuckerberg said on the acquisition call Wednesday, noting that WhatsApp has doubled in size over the past year. "Based on our experience of building global services with strong growth and engagement, we believe WhatsApp is on a path to reach over one billion people in the next few years."
WhatsApp has already over 450 million monthly active users (320 of which are daily active users), and the company claims it is adding more than one million new users per day. For comparison purposes, Twitter added nine million new users in the entire Q4 2013; Facebook did better, adding 40 million in the same three month period, but growth is slower for a company with a billion-plus users already under its belt.
Facebook reached one billion in October 2012, roughly eight and a half years after launch. Could WhatsApp hit one billion even faster?
Assuming the company continues to add one million users per day, then yes. Much faster, actually.
WhatsApp is on pace to reach one billion users in August of 2015, approximately a year and a half after being acquired by Facebook. At that time, WhatsApp will be a little more than 6 years old, achieving the billion user milestone more than two years faster than Facebook did.


Of course, WhatsApp's trajectory is likely to change over time. Just like other consumer services like Facebook and Twitter, growth may slow as the user base gets larger and new users are harder to find.
Regardless of the timing, Zuckerberg seems poised to own two separate billion-user brands in the near future, and he's understandably excited.
"Services in the world that have a billion people using them are incredibly valuable," he said.
For $19 billion, we'd certainly hope so.

2/12/2014

THIS IS THE REALITY OF THE US GOVERMENT

THIS IS THE REALITY OF THE US GOVERMENT, PLEASE TAKE 5 MINS OUT OF YOUR PRECIOUS LIVES AND WATCH THIS!

2/09/2014

The Anti-Social Network

Bob Dylan once sang, “The times they are a changing.”
I once sang, “I’ve got a combine harvester, it’s made out of kitchen spoons, and that’s why you’re a poo.”

Despite Bob’s bad grammar, he had a point and, somewhere, so do I. Because if I was a 10 year-old 
in this day and age, I probably would have tweeted that beautiful nonsensical serenade, or uploaded a video of it onto Youtube.
The recent birth of my sister’s human child got me brooding over the time and age that we are in, and how, at no point in the history of our planet, have events ever been recorded 
with such personable accuracy.
I mean, if only we could look back on John Wilkes Booth’s tweets and read, “Lol your beard is well 
silly, man, Imma kill you.” Or see George Michael’s FB status as “Interested in: Men.” Everything 
would have been different.
My brother-in-law decided to set up a Facebook account for my baby niece on her first day of life, with the idea that at some point down the line – especially with the
 new FB timelines – they could pass on the account to her for her own use. She would have a log of her whole life, right there for her to see, from conception to inevitable dysfunction.
This got me thinking about one day when I poop out a little Timmy, or however that shit works. 
Would he not be curious about daddy’s wanderlusting? I dread the thought that someday, at the 
click of a button, he would know everything there is to know about me. How would my kid
 respect me after seeing me wasted in a pile of my own vomit on the floor, swearing at the camera 
with knickers round my face? “Mummy, Mummy who is that girl daddy’s with?”
I cringe at the idea of my kids going through my pseudo-diary Twitter account, piecing together who I was and who they may become. Thankfully, my tweets are made up of random, surreal thoughts 
and seem like gibberish to the naked eye so the worst they can think of me is that I had Aspergers 
or something.
But I’ve come to a little gem of a realisation. In 10 or 20 years time, when we’ve all grown up and
 had Facebook for most of our lives and then reproduce, does this mean the end of social networking? 
I mean unless you’re a fucking hippy, how do you expect to educate your kids about  right and 
wrong when their main influencers are seen doing and saying all the wrong things on a platform 
as accessible to them as a jar of cookies? This will probably lead, at some point within the next
 10 years, to a mass privatising of accounts. Once we’re done with airing our dirty laundry in our 
rebellious years, we’re going to want to neatly fold it and put it at the back of our closets, with a
 child-proof lock on the door. The less accessible information available, the less users will sign up and eventually it 
becomes the anti-social network.
Could that be the end of Facebook as we know it? Makes a bit of
 sense doesn’t it?
Then again, by then we may all be telepathically connected to the internet and each other, and you
 won’t even have to open your eyes to see my rendition of Combine Harvester.KitchenSpoons.Poo.

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