Civil Liberties, News, surveillance

Government of India to have DIRECT Access to all your phone conversations

Secure tapping mechanism ready

Soon the Centre would have direct access to all your telephone conversations as the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has developed capabilities to intercept phones without keeping your operator in the loop. Currently, trials are on in Delhi and Haryana through a main server established in the national capital. It would take another 12 months before the system is officially operational.

Government of India, at the highest level decided to set up a Central Monitoring System (CMS) to tap calls without the interference of telecom service providers. Subsequently, the DoT’s Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (TREM) Cell along with the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) was asked to develop the project for which Rs.170 crore was earmarked. After almost one year, the CMS is ready and being tested.

Exclusive facility

“This is the DoT’s exclusive facility that would assist intelligence and security agencies, besides strategic government departments in phone-tapping,” a senior DoT official said. …

Complex system

The present system of phone-tapping is a complex one as eight intelligence and investigating agencies wanting to snoop on anybody’s phone are required to approach the Union Home Ministry for clearance with specific reasons. Armed with necessary clearances, the department officials would then approach the telecom operators for tapping phones. … However, in the new mechanism, the DoT will have total control of a tapped line, giving telecom firms no access to the intercepted line.

Another important aspect of the new centralised system is that irrespective of operators, lines would be tapped at one location, which will be manned round-the-clock by officials of the government agencies.

from The Hindu

 

 

Internet, News, privacy, security, surveillance

Cameras May Open Up the Board Rooms for evesdropping

This is a New York Times article published on January 23, 2011 with the title “Cameras May Open Up the Board Room to Hackers” by Nicole Perlroth:

Mike Tuchen and HD Moore of Rapid 7
Mike Tuchen, left, and H D Moore of Rapid 7 were able to gain access to company boardrooms with videoconferencing equipment.

One afternoon this month in San Francisco, a hacker took a tour of a dozen conference rooms around the globe via equipment that most every company has in those rooms; videoconferencing equipment.

With the move of a mouse, he steered a camera around each room, occasionally zooming in with such precision that he could discern grooves in the wood and paint flecks on the wall. In one room, he zoomed out through a window, across a parking lot and into shrubbery some 50 yards away where a small animal could be seen burrowing underneath a bush. With such equipment, the hacker could have easily eavesdropped on privileged attorney-client conversations or read trade secrets on a report lying on the conference room table.

A company boardroom viewed via videoconferencing equipment from Rapid 7’s offices.

In this case, the hacker was H D Moore, a chief security officer at Rapid 7, a Boston based company that looks for security holes in computer systems that are used in devices like toaster ovens and Mars landing equipment. His latest find: videoconferencing equipment is often left vulnerable to hackers.

Businesses collectively spend billions of dollars each year beefing up security on their computer systems and employee laptops. They agonize over the confidential information that employees send to their Gmail and Dropbox accounts and store on their iPads and smartphones. But rarely do they give much thought to the ease with which anyone can penetrate a videoconference room where their most guarded trade secrets are openly discussed.

Mr. Moore has found it easy to get into several top venture capital and law firms, pharmaceutical and oil companies and courtrooms across the country.

He even found a path into the Goldman Sachs boardroom. “The entry bar has fallen to the floor,” said Mike Tuchen, chief executive of Rapid 7. “These are [highlight_1] some of the world’s most important boardrooms [/highlight_1] — this is where their most critical meetings take place — and [highlight_1] there could be silent attendees in all of them[/highlight_1].”

Read more in the New York Times

 

censorship, IGF, News, surveillance

India to block social networking sites “like China”?

The Delhi High Court on Thursday warned social networking site Facebook India and search engine Google India that websites can be “blocked” like in China if they fail to devise a mechanism to check and remove objectionable material from their web pages.

“Like China, we will block all such websites,” Justice Suresh Kait said while asking counsel for Facebook and Google India to develop a mechanism to keep a check on and remove “offensive and objectionable” material from their web pages.

The two companies had moved the High Court seeking a stay on summons issued to them by a Delhi trial court that is hearing a private criminal complaint against them. Justice Kait did not stay the proceedings against the two websites before the magistrate’s court. The case comes up for hearing at the lower court today.

Former Additional Solicitor General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Google India, said the postings of “obscene, objectionable and defamatory” articles and other things cannot be “filtered” or “monitored”.

“No human interference is possible, and moreover, it can’t be feasible to check such incidents. Billions of people across the globe, post their articles on the website. Yes, they may be defamatory, obscene but cannot be checked,” Mr Rohatgi said.

He tried to distinguish between Google India and its US-based holding company Google Inc. “The US-based Google Inc is the service provider and not me (Google India) and hence, we are not liable for the action of my holding company. Moreover, it is a criminal case where a vicarious liability can be fastened on a company which has no role, whatsoever, in the alleged offence,” the lawyer argued.

Citing provisions of the Information Technology Act, the counsel for Google India said these websites are protected by the law in respect of such “objectionable” material so far as they are not the authors. The websites, he said, may lose that legal protection if they either modify or monitor an article or comments or fail to deal with the complaints of an affected person or the government on such issues.

More at http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/can-block-websites-like-china-delhi-high-court-warns-facebook-google-166383

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censorship, Internet, News, surveillance, technology

EFF Celeberates its 20th Anniversary

The Electronic Frontier Foundation celebrates its 20th Anniversay on July 10, 2010. To commemorate this event, it has released this animation:

This animation depicts three key issues that bother the average Internet user:

3. Onerous user agreements.

Users regularly click through monstrous blocks of legalese in order to use the most popular web sites and applications. Unfortunately, these agreements are frequently one-sided and rife with attempts to take away your rights. EFF informs users of various pitfalls, lobbies companies to make necessary improvements, and argues that certain rights should always remain intact. See See EFF’s ‘Terms Of (Ab)use’ Project.

2. Tracking and surveillance online.

Governments, advertisers, and websites are developing increasingly sophisticated methods of tracking what you read, watch, upload, and share on the web. EFF argues for your right to privacy, advocates for governments and companies to put meaningful limits on the collection and use of your personal data, and helps promote tools you can use to protect yourself.

3. “Three Strikes” and copyright cops.

Entertainment industry bigwigs worldwide want ISPs to monitor subscribers, filter content and kick users off the Internet for file-sharing. EFF is fighting worldwide for the protection of fair use, free expression, and fairness for all Internet users.

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