2. Cyber espionage. Lesson nineteen

Target Sweden

Ever since the Bush era the National Security Agency (NSA) collects, saves and sometimes reads/listens to selected conversations of millions of French and Spanish and probably also millions of Germans, Swedes and others. Merkel incidentally turned sour when she subsequently in late October 2013 realized that she was probably herself wire-tapped by the NSA. The NSA wired the German head of state Angela Merkel’s phones and 33 other world leaders, at least according to the whistleblower Edward Snowden’s leaked information. The wire-tapping has not been denied by the NSA or the White House. The NSA says they are wire-tapping people to avoid future terrorist acts. Is Merkel a terrorist sympathizer then?

In any case, you can be sure that everything Angela Merkel has said have also been listened in to by someone high up in the US government apparatus, unlike most of the other “noise”. The question is whether they even consider themselves to be competitive without the NSA’s controversial methods any longer.

It seems probable that the Americans will let go of the wire-tapping of the western world’s leaders and the European parliament through the NSA’s “section 702 program” whose aim is foreign individuals on our side of the Atlantic Ocean and most likely also on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. But as for the other European citizens, I do not think we will see any penitence from the Americans. The section 702 program differ from section 215 program which is aimed at citizens’ metadata. What they are interested in with section 215 program is not primarily what is said, instead it is oriented to whatever networks exist, i.e. information about who is calling who, when and how often, according to a Swedish security expert. Section 702 is probably much more thorough. It is usually not as easy to spy on your own people in a democracy from a legal perspective.

 

Target Germany

An employee of the German intelligence service BND is reported to have spied on behalf of the United States. The man is said to have handed over secret documents to the Americans. These are documents that concerns, among other things, the German political committee that investigates the US intelligence service NSA’s activities in Germany. The 31-year-old employee at the BND intelligence service is said to have collected 218 documents on a USB stick over a period of two years. The United States reportedly has paid him a trivial sum of about 28,000 US dollars in total. The suspected spy scandal was rolled up after suspicions that the man stood in contact with the Russian security service. He was arrested somewhere in the area around Munich and in the subsequent interrogation of him he has admitted that he had sold information to the US.

According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the German Foreign Ministry invited the US Ambassador to ask him to help unravel what has happened. The suspect is suspected of handing the documents to the US, from the “NSA committee” in the German Bundestag. The committee’s task is to examine the extent of NSA’s operations in Germany, and it was appointed after Edward Snowden’s leaked information. Thus data from the committee who is set to examine the US intelligence service may have leaked to the United States. Moreover, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone has, as believed, been wire-tapped. Source; SR; Ekot, July 5, 2014

In July 2014, the German government requested that the highest representative of the US intelligence service (CIA) in Berlin was to leave the country, and this was the last thing I have heard about the controversy.

In the book “The Great Spy Scandal” or ”Pullach intern”, which was first published in 1971 in Germany and 1972 in Sweden, written by the two Der Spiegel journalists Hermann Zolling and Heinz Höhne who were leading experts in intelligence services operating in West and East Germany at the time, it appears that the phenomenon of American political espionage and industrial espionage against (West) Germany has been going on since long before the IT age.

There are only four designated countries that the NSA are not allowed to wire-tap according to secret legal documents from 2010, which Edward Snowden leaked in June 2014. According to the documents, the intelligence agency NSA has had much greater freedom to collect information than previously known, the Washington Post writes. Only the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are exempted from wire-tapping. Among the leaked documents, there is also a list of 193 countries in the world whose governments can be of interest to the NSA, and that is almost all the countries of the world. The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) may also be wire-tapped.

The special US court whose task it is to monitor the NSA has determined that it is permissible for the NSA to wire-tap all telecommunications traffic that goes to and from interesting spy targets in other countries. But what is more is that according to the Washington Post, the NSA also collects all the communication concerning these interesting spy targets. This means that a much larger group of people are included in the circuit that can be wire-tapped, the Washington Post reports. It fits.

 

What is app?

But the NSA cannot be allowed to spy indiscriminately on individuals. First, the individual must himself approve the terms of use for various apps, which people sometimes have to do in order for the phone to work as it is intended, since the installation of the app is essential for the mobile’s function. So in practice it is mandatory to let yourself be spied on.

NSA can easily find out where you have been, when you have been there, which route you have taken and they also know what people you have text messaged or talked with and how you look, provided that you have taken pictures that end up in the cloud connected to your mobile phone and computer.

Had it not been up to the user himself to approve the espionage against him/her then everyone could have spied on anyone, especially the United States, and the United States could not have done anything about it without losing its face. It would have become “Bellum omnium contra omnes” = everyone’s war against everyone. Now, the US publicly can push countries to prosecute or extradite cybercriminals for espionage, instead of the United States just sitting silent and idle. All apps may not be used for NSA purposes and their terms of use are not written by the NSA or even by US lawyers.

The Posse Comitatus Act prohibits the US military from collecting information about US citizens, and the NSA is too part of the armed forces under the United States Department of Defense.

The above is just a hypothesis but it is highly reasonable and logically derived, because we know that the NSA is engaged in espionage against us, the question is just how and under what forms. There is where we can start to unravel.

I do not know, and I do not think there is anyone in Europe who knows, since it is not explicitly stated anywhere in the terms of use when downloading an app, that one can be spied on by the NSA when approving certain apps. Maybe the UK government and secret intelligence know. But I read in June 2014 that the NSA is focusing on – probably shared – pictures now. Probably they will now focus on already suspected persons, their appearance and clothing and the surroundings where they have been or are, personal associations, photo associations, timing of moving activity and camera activity, and modes of transport e.g. train, bus, car or motorcycle. The NSA keeps track on where some of the suspects resides via their mobile phones’ GPS apps, like Family Locator, an app among many that requires access to your personal photos and sensitive data when you install it. Trains run in unique patterns on railroad rails and the stations are located with long intervals at given locations. Cars run in a pattern that often means the straightest route without predictable intermediate stops on straight roads. Buses run in predetermined patterns and stops regularly at the same recurring places on straight roads. Motorcycles can drive and park on some streets, where cars or buses cannot drive or park, and arrive faster than other traffic in rush hour traffic.

This is against individuals who are already stuck in the NSA’s claws through suspicious emails and text messages. But there is a feeling of dissatisfaction for us ordinary Swenson’s that the NSA can take part of personal pictures and information about us, regardless of whether our images will be inspected by experts at the NSA or not. It is enough that someone else has access to personal images of our family members, our most intimate and most valuable.

The NSA has problems with many concerned Europeans and other world citizens outside the US being reluctant to installing or updating apps that require access to personal information and images on their cellphone. Therefore their policy have been to attract customers with a generous free storage space in the cloud. For my part, I have resigned. I download all the apps I get proposed to me now, even those that require access to sensitive data, otherwise there is a risk that I will have problems with the cellphone. Or its full function as an Android obviously gets reduced. They can have access to my entire private life, because they probably already have it anyway!

In August 2015, we probably saw the effects of the US government’s more or less openly promised ”tightening” of the section 702 program, with the upgrade to Windows 10 to make life miserable also for PC owners with Windows operating systems. Actually, it is Microsoft that collects the information, but because of the amount of information it is stored only temporarily. This does not mean that they cannot store interesting information for longer times. Nor does it mean that Microsoft does not disclose information to US authorities when they require access to sensitive information about citizens and businesses in Europe, apart from citizens and businesses in the UK of course. Everything you type on the keyboard are uploaded, including passwords, credit card numbers, content in encrypted emails, medical records, police investigations, defense secrets, etc. The dice are loaded to our disadvantage. This also means that the United States whenever they wish can get to key people, hijack their savings and, above all, steal their identity. Those who use mobile broadband will also see their monthly transmission capacity eaten up continuously when Microsoft is spying on them and uploades large amounts of your data. Even if you have deactivated the voice control, everything is immediately loaded into an activated microphone up to a number of servers.

Tape over your webcam with masking tape and turn off your microphone on your computer, that’s my advise! Because so bad has it become. Orwell’s 1984 is here for everyone except for big brother USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. You get indignant. But I can comfort myself with that in the long run, it will be the United States that loses on the wire-tapping. But the question is whether our era’s civilization is coming to an end, since there is no other nation that can take on themselves America’s former central role for God.

 

Homework:

What are you doing to protect yourself from NSA’s, China’s and Russia’s cyber espionage? Make a multipoint list or start making plans.

Roger M. Klang, defense political Spokesman for the Christian Values Party (Kristna Värdepartiet) in Sweden

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Roger Klang

I come from Arboga, Sweden, same latitude as Stockholm, Oslo and Helsinki. The year in which I was born was 1965. But I grew up in the region of Scania in the south end of Sweden. I believe in God and his son Jesus Christ but I still don’t go to Church. I don’t know what else to say about myself so I’ll stop here. The truth is, you wouldn’t know me if you had read a book about me. I’m pretty unique I like to think. We all are, but especially me. Roger M. Klang, civis Lundensis

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