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Internet Freedom Under Assault: Bitcoins, CryptoSeal, Lavabit, and Antisemitism

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Image representing Edward Snowden as depicted ...

Image by None via CrunchBase

 It should become even more clear to the average citizen around the world, especially here in the United States, that there is a shadow group interested in severely limiting internet communication that is deemed a threat to the status quo of those who control power. It’s long past time to use what little power of the vote is left to get those in Congress and the White House out of office who have betrayed the basic principles of the U.S. Constitution, and especially those who are secretly undermining basic Christian freedom of religion (and those of other faiths deemed an enemy of the state).

‘Scary you could be jailed for running computer service’ – CryptoSeal co-founder

VPN service CryptoSeal followed Lavabit in pulling the plug, fearing running afoul of US authorities. Ryan Lackey, co-founder of the computer firm, told RT about the current climate where people can be put behind bars just for running their businesses.

In August, the highly-encrypted email service Lavabit reportedly   used by NSA leaker Edward Snowden went offline after it was   ordered by a court to turn over its Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)   private key – a cryptographic protocol designed to facilitate   communication security over the internet – to the FBI.  
  The company objected, saying the key would grant the government   access to communications by all 400,000 of its customers. Lavabit   offered instead to add code to his servers which would provide   the FBI the necessary information only for the target of the   order. According to unsealed documents from the Federal District   Court in Alexandria, Virginia, released earlier this month, the   court rejected the offer, demanding that Lavabit hand over the   SSL key or face a $5,000-per-day fine.  
     
  Fearing the legal precedent set by the Lavabit case, CryptoSeal   followed suit earlier this week, saying it would be impossible to   comply with a government order without turning over the crypto   keys to its entire system.

Image representing CryptoSeal as depicted in C...

Image by None via CrunchBase

“I know they threatened me on more than one occasion with jail. I think the only reason they didn’t do it is because if they had, the service would have eventually shut down on its own with nobody to maintain it. And the only reason they didn’t arrest me after the shutdown was because of the media, the publicity. But it’s pretty scary to think about what lengths they’re willing to go to conduct these investigations.”

RT: What then protects online services like yourself or   Lavabit from being prosecuted for providing your service to   people like Edward Snowden, whom you have nothing to do with? As   for whistleblowers, how are they to be protected?

RL: The fourth amendment of the US Constitution is   supposed to be protection against general warrants, which is what   I believe the Lavabit case is about. There is supposed to be a   very specific legal standard, where they need evidence about a   specific person and a specific crime. They bring that to a   provider, and then they can then get records, which has   previously been the case. But in this case, they don’t appear to   have followed that, and there is at least one judge who is   willing to compel a provider to operate in violation of what I   believe to be the US Constitution. So until that’s resolved, it’s   very scary.

English: Detail of Preamble to Constitution of...

English: Detail of Preamble to Constitution of the United States Polski: Fragment preambuły Konstytucji Stanów Zjednoczonych (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I believe it is fairly standard for intelligence agencies to monitor foreign intelligence agencies or foreign militaries, and heads of state are certainly part of the military. But when it comes to monitoring private citizens and private businesses that aren’t involved in any sort of defense or national security, I think there needs to be a much higher level of protection. Certainly US persons in the United States should not be in risk of being monitored by the NSA except in truly exceptional circumstances like a terrorist plot. Private citizens in other countries should not be at risk of being monitored by intelligence agencies from any country. Private citizens doing their own thing and not involved in terrorism, not involved in the military or government, should be fully protected from this.

RT: How do you think the ongoing scandal will reshape   the internet as we know it?

RL: I think the internet is ultimately just a system where   people in many countries cooperate, so it really depends on the   laws in each country. I think the United States, from a   constitutional perspective, has strong protections, but there has   been a weakening over time through court rulings. The problem is,   when you have a bad case and a bad defendant, it tends to make   bad law. A lot of the US cases involve very bad people, child   pornography or other cases like that, and the judges are sort of   willing to overlook the fundamental privacy issues and make   rulings that are very favorable to the government, whereas in the   abstract it’s a very bad idea.

English: FBI Mobile Command Center in Washingt...

English: FBI Mobile Command Center in Washington DC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In other countries, they do not have as strong protections. It’s   going to be interesting to see other countries that have   different levels of protection for privacy to operate on the   internet. Part of that might be technology. We’re going to have   stronger technical protections for privacy, so perhaps people   will operate in countries where the laws might say one thing… and   it’s very unclear if you’re the citizen of one country and you’re   visiting another country what the legal standard really needs to   be to turn over your records.

http://rt.com/news/cryptoseal-cofounder-law-closure-785/

 

Federal agents seize alleged Silk Road profits worth $35M

Federal agents seized a fat electronic wallet full of bitcoin, a virtual currency, owned by the alleged mastermind of the illicit Silk Road digital underworld, court papers unsealed Friday said.

The electronic wallet holding 144,336 bitcoins worth $29 million was found on computer hardware allegedly belonging to Ross Ulbricht, 29, who was arrested Oct. 1 at a public library in San Francisco. Silk Road was an illegal drug bazaar that operated in the cyber underworld.

Ulbricht is charged with money laundering, drug dealing, computer hacking and murder-for-hire in courts in Baltimore and New York.

Federal agents also seized the Silk Road website and the bitcoin accounts of the site’s buyers and sellers. That seizure included 29,655 bitcoins, now worth $5.8 million, court papers say.

Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Federal Reserve Bank of New York (Photo credit: niallkennedy)

Bitcoin is cash for the Internet. The virtual currency operates by person-to-person exchange without a bank or a central monetary authority, such as the Federal Reserve, to regulate it or issue it. Bitcoin operates with a computer program that creates a personal wallet for each user through which they can send and receive coins. All transactions are logged into shared public ledger called the “block chain,” which helps prevent fraud. Transactions have digital signatures that correspond to the sender’s address.

There are 11.9 million bitcoins in circulation, according to blockchain.info. A bitcoin on Friday was valued at $197.57.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/10/25/silk-road-bitcoins-seized/3196437/

 

Note: As you can see with regards to the line about the Federal Reserve, any monetary system that the shadow government behind the U.S. government can’t control is a major threat to them. Most Americans don’t realize that before Gadhafi was assassinated by the U.S.-backed Libyan henchmen, he also proposed a monetary system independent of the West. China now is calling for a new ‘de-american’ financial future. The Silk Road case just offered a convenient excuse for the U.S. authorities to crackdown on the rising threat of the successful, independent financial system offered by Bitcoins and Silk Road. In fact, it would not be surprising if the illegal activities run on Silk Road were in fact a series of false flag operations by western intelligence to destroy independent financial transactions.

 

Description: Newspaper clipping USA, Woodrow W...

Description: Newspaper clipping USA, Woodrow Wilson signs creation of the Federal Reserve. Source: Date: 24 December 1913 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

FBI makes record $28 million Bitcoin bust

Since its inception in 2011, the now closed website [Silk Road] was an   anonymous hub for anything from drug deals to weapons and   computer hacking programs – even hiring assassins, the Justice   Department said.

The digital currency itself has been around since 2008, but it   was not until 2011 that authorities showed greater interest in   it, following the discovery of the connection to Silk Road and   the near to 1 million registered users regularly engaging in   illegal activities.

The current bust was part of a joint civil action against   Ulbricht and his website. He is expected to appear in court in a   matter of weeks to face charges of conspiring to traffic   narcotics, launder money and hack computer networks.

Ulbricht’s arrest and the bitcoin seizure followed a string of   international arrests of Silk Road users by Swedish, British and   US authorities, a testament to the scale of the international   crackdown on the website. The director of Britain’s newly-founded   National Crime Agency (NCA), Keith Bristow, warned Oct. 9 that   the “latest arrests are just the start” and “there are   many more to come.”

Bristow added that bitcoin will also now be closely watched,   after his agency seized millions of pounds of the electronic   currency.

http://rt.com/usa/bitcoin-fbi-seize-money-770/

 

How the Web spreads anti-Semitism

By Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, Special to CNN
updated 11:39 AM EDT, Fri October 18, 2013

Editor’s note: Daniel Jonah Goldhagen’s book “The Devil That Never Dies: The Rise and Threat of Global Antisemitism,” was just published by Little, Brown. A former Harvard professor, he is also the author of the “Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust.”

(CNN) — Anti-Semitism, arguably the most enduring and murderous ethnic prejudice in human history, has always adapted to the prevailing social, political and technological conditions.

In our global age of international flows and world politics and communication, anti-Semitism has become global, and it is in no small measure due to digital technologies: the Internet and satellite television. Anti-Semitism now reaches vast parts of the world where there are no Jews. And the people who rely most on the Internet, the young, are the most innocent and susceptible to believing the prejudices they come across.

Digital technology has become a game changer for anti-Semitism, and for prejudices and hatreds in general, including against African-Americans.

Never before has prejudice toward Jews been so widely present around the world in places where the hated people are present and especially where they don’t even live, as a Pew Global Attitudes Survey of 24 countries reveals. Jews form .2% of the world’s population, with the vast majority in just two countries, Israel and the United States. Yet in Europe, where Germans and many other Europeans slaughtered 6 million Jews in the Holocaust, a shocking amount of anti-Semitism still exists.

Across the Arab world there is almost uniformly poisonous anti-Semitism, including instances of Arab leaders, imams, and ordinary people saying that Jews are the children of apes and pigs. More amazing is that in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia, anti-Semitism is widespread. Fifty percent of Brazilians, 43% of Nigerians, and 55% of Chinese surveyed by Pew said they had an unfavorable opinion of Jews, even though in Brazil Jews form .05% of the population, and in the other countries there are barely any Jews at all. Even in the United States, where anti-Semitism is lowest among major countries, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s index of anti-Semitism, “15 percent of Americans fall in the most anti-Semitic cohort.”

Digital technology has critically contributed to the explosion of anti-Semitism in five ways…

Read the rest at http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/18/opinion/goldhagen-anti-semitism-internet/index.html?iid=article_sidebar

 

Note: The problem here is not the fight against anti-Semitism, but the exclusive argument that only anti-Semitism should be targeted. In addition, the internet should allow freedom of expression and let the people decide. The accusation of anti-Semitism is being used as an excuse to force governments to crack down on freedom of speech, which is very anti-American and should not be tolerated. Let website owners determine what to allow and not allow, but to force internet service providers and backbones to blindly enforce severe limitations of speech goes against the very promise of the internet. We don’t want a society where a mysterious Thought Police agency determines what is acceptable and what is not. The best way to fight anti-Semitism is for those of Semitic  races to do good to their fellow neighbors in larger and larger numbers. Every group will always have haters, but a curb on free speech online is an overreaction to the few haters who spew hateful words.

 

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Written by voiceoftruthusa

October 26, 2013 at 5:05 pm

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