United States Response to Terror

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More irrational thinking

How the US government confronts terrorism: refusing to understand the threats that confront us by describing such attacks in the least offensive way thus downplaying what they really are?

We are targets, everywhere we go is a target, we are an even better target when we are somewhere that has zero security.

We have had masses of people calling to close the border, stop letting people in, no more refugees. And while all of that may be warranted, the sad truth is and I have said this so many times before as have a great many others, stop worrying about who is coming in, the terrorists are already here.  

We must stop downplaying such attacks, call them what they are and start realizing that to stop them, and we need to give our government the ability and tools it needs in an effort to do that.

I have in the past stated quite openly that I support the United States Government having access to encrypted data and devices access to servers, browsing info and wiretaps if necessary that are all warrantless. Usually it prompts an outpouring of hate mail after each article.

I have even suggested some of the most strict oversight, rules, protocol and accountability if we the people were to consider allowing all of these things.

Still I was met with backlash of angry readers and what they don’t realize is that I honestly value the argument and completely understand it.

In turn, just because I can, I also try to publish stories for my readers that highlight the United States Government’s efforts to gain access to encrypted devices, data, networks and browsing history without a warrant for some if not all of what they want to access. 

I have to play devils advocate at times and point out that our government at times, misuses its power to gain what it wants, doesn’t properly offer protocols, rules and oversight and basically ignores the public it serves while at the same time feeling they don’t owe us an answer for anything they choose to do.

And its all done under the pretense that it is in our best interest. So I do take the time to point that out because like it or not, that is not the world we live in today. Our leaders and elected officials have an old school way of thinking and it is not in line with today’s world, let alone today’s mindset.

If they want access to something, they need to explain why, to all of us that they serve and represent. They need to offer accountability and guarantees that they are not going to misuse or abuse that golden ticket.

They also need to guarantee that whatever, if we ever allowed access to all of these things that they would guard it better than they guard the intel that keeps leaking from the NSA.

Even when I don’t fully support our government’s attempts at accessing any data or device I still get some angry readers responding.

Each side of the debate has issues, wants and needs and we are still not hearing each other.

Once again, the media jumped to conclusions this past weekend, they reported speculation as fact, stressed that they were not calling these terrorist attacks and again turned the events of this past weekend into a media circus that seemed put together more for “entertainment” purposes instead of to inform the public.  

Soft Targets are the new target. I’ve hinted at this multiple times in past articles and tidbits that I have posted. Terrorists are no longer seeking out hard targets, soft targets are the new trend, they have replaced hard targets.

We cannot assume that we are safe anywhere. 

We have taken freedom and our ability to live in the land of the free for granted.

We assume that our government is always going to be able to stop the bad. That too is an old mindset that has no place in today’s world.

It makes no difference when it comes to a terrorist attack whether one is home grown or has gained entry into a country from afar these days. These attacks which all bear similarities at the end of the day, are happening worldwide, not just here in America.

So what can we do?

Here’s the thing about about mass surveillance and access to encrypted data, devices, networks and browsing history, sometimes if given the chance to stop something or prevent an attack, it’s all needed.

It is time to sit down and have a serious discussion about our government’s ability to access encrypted data and devices, to have access to browser history, networks and to conduct mass surveillance when it’s warranted and when the proper protocols and oversight can be put into place.

I know that some of the folks that are against this are going to argue that Ahmad Khan Rahami’s father did go to the FBI and report concerns about him and terrorism back in 2014. I’ll give you that, fair enough.

What many don’t realize is that sometimes law enforcement, even the FBI need a little more than hearsay to do much about it. They could have watched him day in and day out for months and not seen anything, how were they know what he was emailing, texting or browsing?

If it didn’t look the guy was up to much, they can’t sit on him forever. They don’t have enough staff for that. But we still want to point fingers and blame so the FBI is going to get a little backlash for this.

Those are the rules that we the public insisted on and have in turn imposed upon our government. No access, to anything. If you need something on the guy, try pulling it out of thin air.

We live in a very technologically connected world today, everything we do is connected to our phones, our laptops, our tablets and even our watches.

Terrorists, mass shooters, etc. They do happen to live in today’s world too, they aren’t exactly 50 years behind the rest of us. So they too have just as much of a technologically connected life as the rest of us.

Consider this, a lot of terrorists will use the dark web for communication to arrange coordinated attacks when they don’t live near one another. Most average, everyday run of the mill american citizens can’t figure out how to use then navigate the dark web.

If law enforcement had the ability to to be able to access browsing history, encrypted communications, maybe they could have prevented all of this.

Maybe.

I don’t know if allowing access would actually stop any attacks in the future, the government doesn’t know, hell not one of us can guarantee it, but wouldn’t anyone like to find out? Just because it’s not a guarantee wouldn’t anyone like to have the chance, at least one or two?

It is time to have this discussion with regards to government access to “stuff”, a honest, well thought out discussion with the right players, not just suits in our government doing what they feel is in our best interest.

If having such access could stop just one attack it more than proves why it’s needed but first we need to allow it to find out if that will work in conjunction to other efforts. 

Cristal M Clark

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News

@thecrimeshop

 

Bitcoiners who use Tor be warned

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Revised  Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure

A nifty little law was passed earlier this year by the US supreme court that will allow the FBI to use a single warrant to hack as many computers they’d like to, anywhere in the US and quite possibly the world or so those who are against the ruling say.

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Basically the change means that a single warrant can be obtained to hack a single electronic device and any other electronic devices that were somehow connected to or in some way associated with the original source.

In other words the change to Rule 41 will be a single warrant that will be used for mass surveillance.

The running theory going around the web is that, a single warrant that is issued anywhere in America would then allow the FBI to control as many computers that were associated with the original source on a botnet.

Whether or not they were located in the United States.

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This change leaves Tor and its equivalents feeling like they are prime targets. They feel that the change to Rule 41 is designed to attack Tor through its user base.

The change in the current law will take effect 12/1/2016.

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Sen. Ron Wyden-D-Oregon is fighting the revision to Rule 41 which he says is a “staggering expansion of government hacking and surveillance authority.”

Back in May Sen. Wyden introduced  S. 2952, a measure that would fully block the changes to Rule 41.

Not surprising, the measure hasn’t received a hearing or markup, yet Sen. Wyden is hopeful that a hearing or markup are coming soon.

Let’s not forget, that Sen Wyden does in fact have support from other lawmakers, the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Sen. Wyden’s argument is pretty clear, he says that “this major policy change is going to make it easier for the government to hack into the personal devices of Americans and collect information about them, making American’s feel less safe instead of more.”

He fears that not only would this change grant the Government the ability to hack into a perpetrators device but also the victims which might be considered yet another attack on the victim.

He also feels that the government could also end up damaging, our personal devices, power grids, hospitals and nearly any other system connected to the internet.

Which is a fear that is totally founded, the US Government did manage to infect millions of computers worldwide and the networks of foreign Government’s with malware.

Sen. Wyden started to step up his game last week and in all honesty seeing someone who serves as an elected official fight for the rights of the American People is a rather refreshing change compared to what we normally see from our elected officials.

It is unclear if encrypted data and encrypted devices would be of a challenge to our Government’s hack-a-thon, should the changes to Rule 41 actually take effect on December 1, 2016.

Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Cristal M Clark

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News

@thecrimeshop