Two members of the Norwegian Parliament, Bård Vegar Solhjell and Snorre Valen, have nominated Edward Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize. Here’s the full text of their letter.
The New York Times has heard a description of Edward Snowden’s résumé. According to the paper the résumé clearly shows that Snowden possessed “hacking skills,” and that he acquired them while working as an intelligence contractor.
The Times article goes on to say:
In an age when terabytes of data can be stashed inside palm-size devices, the new details about Mr. Snowden’s training and assignments underscore the challenges that the N.S.A. faces in recruiting a new generation of free-spirited computer experts with diverse political views.
An article in yesterday’s New York Times examines the threat that “rogue” sysadmins pose to governments and corporations.
(But what if all sysadmins are rogue sysadmins, deep down? What if that’s how they got to be sysadmins in the first place? Just a thought.)
A few notable quotes from the Times article:
Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked details about American surveillance, personifies a debate at the heart of technology systems in government and industry: can the I.T. staff be trusted?
“The scariest threat is the systems administrator,” said Eric Chiu, president of Hytrust, a computer security company. “The system administrator has godlike access to systems they manage.”
“This is a dirty little secret that’s being revealed,” said Robert Bigman, a former chief information security officer at the Central Intelligence Agency. “When you log on with a root account, it doesn’t know if you’re staff employee or a contract employee. It just knows you’re root. You’re known as a superuser. You have all privileges.“
Edward Snowden’s decision to throw himself into the machine for our collective benefit is an incredibly important story, not least because the timing signals solidarity with Bradley Manning, who is now in the first week of his trial after an astonishing (and illegal) three-year delay.
Solidarity generates heat, and that can mean exponential growth.
When it all starts to fall apart, it can happen very fast.
Nobody knows where the elbow in the hockey stick really is. You can hit it by surprise.
Whistleblowers are the canaries in the coal mines. Our government wants them dead. What do you suppose that means?
And let’s not forget the brave journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, equal heroes in this case.
The origin of this site
On July 5, 2011, while under house arrest in London, WikiLeaks founder/editor Julian Assange appeared in a public conversation with Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek, moderated by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!.
During that conversation, Assange broached a subject that apparently remains unthinkable for the world’s most powerful institutions: the possibility of geek rebellion. Here’s the text of his remark:
“And I thought I was pretty cynical and worldly five years ago, and of course I was simply a very young and naïve fool, in retrospect. And learning how to—from being with inside the center of the storm, I’ve learned not just about the structure of government, not just about how power flows in many countries around the world that we’ve dealt with, but rather how history is shaped and distorted by the media. And I think the distortion by the media of history, of all the things that we should know so we can collaborate together as a civilization, is the worst thing. It is our single greatest impediment to advancement. But it’s changing. We are routing around media that is close to power in all sorts of ways, and—but it’s not a forgone conclusion, which is what makes this time so interesting, that we can wrest the internet and we can wrest the various communications mechanisms we have with each other into the values of the new generation, that has been educated by the internet, has been educated outside of that mainstream media distortion. And all those young people are becoming important within institutions.
“So, maybe this is something I’ll speak about with you later, Amy, but I do want to talk about what it means when institutions—how the most powerful institutions, from the CIA to News Corporation, are all organized—all organized using computer programmers, using system administrators, using technical young people. What does that mean when all those technical young people adopt a certain value system, and that they are in an institution where they do not agree with the value system, and yet actually their hands are on the machinery? [emphasis added] Because there have been moments in the past like that. And it is those technical young people who are the most Internet-educated and have the greatest ability to receive the new values that are being spread and the new information and facts about reality that are being spread outside mainstream media distortions.“
Stallman explains, with copious links, why you should refuse to use Facebook.
During 2012, Julian Assange hosted an 11-episode talk show, The Julian Assange Show, on the English language news network Russia Today. (Russia Today was started in 2005 by Vladimir Putin with the explicit purpose of promoting the Kremlin’s line to the English-speaking world.)
Episode eight of the series was Cypherpunks, a live, in-person conversation with three “virtuoso geek activists” from “the movement that spawned WikiLeaks,” in Assange’s words. His three guests were Andy Muller-Maguhn (Germany), Jeremie Zimmermann (France), and Jacob Appelbaum (United States).