Don't look Ethel !!
The epic collection of classified US documents exposed by WikiLeaks over the past several weeks offer little more than good gossip. But watching the response to Julian Assange and his whistle-blowing website is wonderfully entertaining. The latest act in the worldwide WikiLeaks comedy: on Friday, the White House told federal …
"PayPal has shut the account WikiLeaks used to take donations, saying that the site violated its terms of service."
"Amazon claims its decision was not in response to a government inquiry, while EveryDNS said it booted WikiLeaks because of heavy DDoS attacks directed at the site"
There's not the slightest shadow of doubt that Wikileaks violated the terms of service for all these services. Normally of course internet providers, having in general the morals of gutter journalists without the same sense of public responsibility, tend to ignore terms of service breaches as long as the money comes in and their noses aren't completely rubbed in it...
In this case their noses haven't been so much rubbed in the breach of terms of service as planed off with a powersaw... If they weren't seen to act they'd presumably have no chance of ever enforcing terms of service breach again, and they do want to be able to enforce terms of service in order to get rid of "customers" who are more trouble than they are worth. Which category, in any case, Wikileaks probably comes into now anyway. I imagine the trouble is way worse than the cut of the money they'll be losing...
also dropped a copy to their Investor Relations email <email@example.com> as I couldn't find Bezos' or other C*O's addy (anyone know it?). Also mentioned we were looking at moving our (rather smallish) hosting from rackspace to AWS and they've just made it a bit more complicated...
Nuisance. I liked amazon.
Till now Wikileaks were in the position of a despicable media attention w**re.
This however is from a different league. I am old enough to remember the days of Brezhnev and Andropov and the negotiations of the Start treaties. There was more than one moment during that when the west was presenting information on Soviet weapons and the Soviet requested an emergency interruption so that members of their delegation (yes, members of the delegation which is supposed to negotiate the bloody treaty) can leave the room because the material exceeds their security clearance rating.
It is really sad, in fact it is despicable to see that the world has gone full circle and we now live in a world which is under the command of the Union of Soviet (Capitalist) States with Dubia being the Brezhnev and the current honcho being the Andropov of the day (the intellectual level more or less corresponds). The "Helsinki charter of human rights" is now firmly sticking out of the toilet and the KGB^H^H^HNSA^H^H^MI5/6 is in command of everyone and everything.
Bugger that gently with a chainsaw, I am feeling like after this one WikiLeaks does deserve a donation after today.
Talk about shutting the stable door after the horse has disappeared over the horizon.
The data is out there in the public domain. Ok, it might not be licensed as PD but it is there for everyone (unless your ISP is blocking your DNS...) to read and digest.
Surely it is in the best interests of every Gov dept to read everything so that they get a proper picture of the potential damage to their 'vested interests'?
Posting as Anon becasue I done want the men in beige raincoats & shades knocing at my door.
No, of course its not in the best interests of government for their staff to spend hours reading tons of largely trivial and completely out of context tosh.
Its in the best interests of every Gov dept for their staff to get on with the frigging job and do what they are paid for.
Anyone who's job might involve evaluating this stuff would necessarily have the security clearance anyway.
Boston University warned its students that posting about the leaks on social networks may look poorly when they apply to US government jobs. Getting these jobs entails a security check, which might just entail a google check for their name+wikileaks...
That I understand, this was not an official statement, just a warning to the students to be careful. What does it say about a government that merely commenting on the news may bar you from getting a government job?
If you comment about Wikileaks being a wonderful force for good against the evils of government why would you ever expect ever to get any kind of security clearance or access to anything sensitive? Simple common sense says that no organisation that would like it its data to stay private shouldn't be employing anyone who publicly says leaking data is a good thing.
Its just struck me what the long term effects of this are going to be... Its that all of you are going to be paying more tax...
I don't work with anything classified but there is a shed load of stuff I'm responsible for that's under data protection, personal data like say who's been maltreating their kids or is otherwise confidential... We've been able to resist the more paranoid elements amongst the management who'd like to lock down data to the nth degree of granularity by saying well WTF is going to want to spend their day reading all this when they've got a job to do? Of course now all it needs is for one ****wit to download everything they've got some kind of read access to and send it off to wikileaks to make themselves think they're some kind of hero fighting for freedom.
So as soon as this occurs to the paranoid element we're going to need to lock everything up a lot tighter, which means we'll have to employ a damn sight more administrators... Then we'll also have to lock down the admnistrators access to data and produce much more secure policies there, which will reduce their productivity drastically, so we'll need to employ even more admins, which is even more of your taxes down the pan. Then we'll have to lock down all portable media even more... the fact that the memory sticks and things are all encrypted doesn't matter a damn if the guy who wants to leak it has the security... So even less efficiency, more security software, which in turn is either expensive packages or loads more admins to run open source equivalents, which is yet more of your taxes down the pan to pay for all this totally non-productive crap...
a) the huge list of downvotes from people divorced from the real world of trying to get the job done
b) the list of flames on how we should have been doing all this anyway and if I knew my job properly I could do it all for 5 quid and a marsbar, all from people whom its damn obvious have never been involved in running a system of any size and complexity at all...
No matter how thorough the screening process, given a couple million employees, there are simply bound to be either fuckwits, or moles, or spys.
The cost to better screen people clearly exceeds to cost of simply securing the data, so I guess that's the plan. Problem is, they know how to secure it. The issue of doing it simply takes time. the larger the infrastructure, the more difficult/time-consuming change is.
The IT techs generally know how to treat data with the respect it deserves. Sadly it's usually some fuck-wit manager or staffer that thinks nothing of hooking up MS Excel-crement with ODBC and drawing out 25GB of confidential data, dropping it onto a laptop and taking it home!
When we speak up about security and the need to protect the data, we get shat on by management telling us we're being bloody difficult!
With all due respect you do not get my commiserations here. Any system which holds any data where the unauthorised disclosure is either a "legal problem" or "commercial problem" must have highly granular access control, audit trail and someone to administer both of them.
I have done a few of these myself over the years so I know how painful it is firsthand and how big is the resistance including from management which thinks that the current means of storing and accessing information is "good enough". However it has to be done.
So in fact, Wikileaks here has shown exactly how bad the current situation is. Systems are in use which are not fit for purpose and should have never ever passed procurement. With all due respect a mere grunt somewhere on the ground should have never ever had the level of access to get this stash of documents and he should have been picked up from the access requests before he accessed the information and not from an ex-hacker ratting on him.
To drive my point further - we had that. In the days when material like this was circulated and accessed on OpenServer, Trusted Solaris and DGUX you could not cut-n-paste from a window with a higher security rating into one with a lower. Downloading data onto external media? WTF? Forget even the mentioning of the idea. There was also a time when it was a procurement rule that systems that do not support this must not ever enter the network.
So the question here is which moron circumvented the rules and allowed Micro&Soft which does not have support for this level of granularity in older versions and noone knows how to administer and if it will scale to "fed" level it in the newer ones.
Crazy suggestion, I know, but why not put all this info on that paper stuff and lock it away in heavy filing cabinets in a locked cellar? Access restricted to asking security for a key , presenting credentials and signing for it.
An effective way to to stop data trawling and it would take a truck to remove the data, never mind the effort of copying... and how many people really NEED to see that kind of data in an instant?
"... now all it needs is for one ****wit to download everything they've got some kind of read access to and send it off to wikileaks to make themselves think they're some kind of hero fighting for freedom." Who are you to say that such a leak *wouldn't be* a battle (major or minor) in the war to see that justice is done? Yes, there is going to be a fight to keep everything under wraps, but it has never really succeeded. You are perhaps too much of a pragmatist, concerned only with the difficulties you see, not the bigger picture.However, as someone else said, there is little chance that anyone is going to be bothered one way or another.
Pay Pal has a history of freezing accounts, seizing money or delaying payments, along with collecting and passing data - smart people avoid using them as an recipient of funds and especially as a forwarder of funds using credit cards.
As for the White House, no words describe their stupidity. I supported Obama, he had a once in a blue moon opportunity to change the U.S.A. for the better. He blew this opportunity, too.
I guess the numbnuts on his staff presume the people won't access the Wikilleaks.com/http://188.8.131.52 when they get home.
Threatening penalties against any employee who has read a newspaper in the past week is beyond pastiche. It is more embarrassing than any of the leaks.
I don't find circus clowns funny but I don't find then scary, but it is terrifying to learn that they run the White House
"... it is terrifying to learn that they run the White House"
You must be young, it's nearly always been clowns. To quote Guy Fawkings book, "A Brief History of Government":
"A well-known politician once gave a public lecture on various forms of government. He described democracy, monarchy, authoritarianism and anarchy. At the end a little old lady cried: "Bullshit! Government is really a flat plate to collect your money supported by a clown holding you at gunpoint." The politician smirked, saying "What is supporting the clown?" The old biddy answered, "You think you're so smart, but it's clowns all the way down!""
"Amazon claims its decision was not in response to a government inquiry."
Taking what they said literally, I think they are telling the truth. I'm sure the communication from the government wasn't in the form of an inquiry. Far more likely "get that **** off your service or something bad will happen that you won't ever be able to prove was something to do with this / say bye bye to any government contracts you might want"
We're just supposed to think that phrase means they didn't talk at all.
Where are the documents about the aliens? They should have published the documents about the aliens first. We're only putting up with Wikileaks to hear about the aliens. Nobody really cares what one diplomat thinks about another. And now they're getting themselves excommunicated, we'll never know the truth.
I had an account, had problems the first time I tried to use it. Google showed I was not alone, cancelled account. Paypal has all the bad features of a bank, without any of the controls that an actual bank has.
If Paypal was food it would be a Double Bacon Cheese Burger that tastes like Brussels Sprouts and cod liver oil.
The malware that is responsible for the DDoS attack is actually on the wikileaks site so if you go there you stand to get infected with the same nasty dose that's trying to keep the site down.
I am sitting with my popcorn enjoying the show, can't wait for that tool Assange to go to Sweden.
I think we should make some things clear here, its not about how this ended up in the media, its not about govenments slagging each other off, its about a media portal wanting to drive income.
Personally, i couldnt give two s**ts what they publish, what is bugging me is the media as a whole feel its "in our intrests" to know everthing about everything, this is blatent horse sh**, the media in general has a vested intrest in making money, end of story. They will publish anything that will attract the attention of the public to make money THAT is what i have a problem with, the media has no right to poke their noses in to other peoples lives.
For example, take young Maddy that was "taken" a few years back, the media went mental, why? becaue it was a sellable story, the girl had the right face and the parents had the right background, it would always sell. now let me tell you that that happens every single day, where is the media for all of those? poor kids and families? they wont touch it because it doesnt fit a template to make money.
This Wikileaks business is the same, its coursed him some bother but the guy has instantly become a household name, for good or bad that would have inccreased his value no end. Its not in our intrest to know this, its not in our instrest to know which A list celeb has got pished last night and its not in our intrest to know who our politicians sleep with.
The media needs its wings cliped, OR at the very least some agreed guide lines. Im not talking censorship, im talking a moral understanding between the media corps and the public, they need to stop promoting shock headlines that in reality have no significance to us and instead report real world events that do mean something.
but in the end, the reason this sort of journalism makes the money is that their market laps it up. The only way I can see the media changing without some sort of censorship (whether by force or agreement) is for people to loose interest in the guff. I don't see that happening, I'm afraid.
I’m a Washington-based U.S. Fed.
The prohibition, at least in my agency, is that one is not allowed to read or save the classified Wikileaks cables using one’s UNCLASSIFIED government-owned PC. In fact, our IT security folks specifically noted that anyone wishing to view the data should do it from their own home computer. There’s no ban on doing that. That said, everyone where I work has at least a fairly high level clearance.
What I don’t understand is how the Army PFC who originally downloaded the 250K cables was able to do it without setting off some sort alarm. I mean, that’s got to be something like 10 GBs at least. Where I work, we have two separate systems, an unclassified one, and a thin-client classified one. The “class” system has no internal hard drive, or floppy/CD drives, and no USB ports. According to the IT security office, those limitations were specifically designed in to prevent the mass downloading of classified info. I have access to the same DOD SIPRNET network that the all the Wilileaks cables came from; I can view them one at time or download to the classified network share, but I can’t walk out of the office with any other than hard-copies printed out one-at-a –time.
Yes, some other sites have mentioned that if an unclassified computer gets infected with classified data, it is a big problem because then the whole hard drive has to be shredded, as a standard security procedure. Imagine that happening to the mail server because somebody sent an e-mail about a cable he just read...
So, because nobody is willing to either declassify the lot, or create an exception to the security procedure, official unclassified computers must be kept clean by staying away from the bad stuff... This is actually a fairly valid explanation for a bureaucracy with many layers of rules.
However, this does not explain why university students have been warned to not talk of the cables on social networks, in case they ever want to work for the government. This may be paranoia, but it is fairly bone-chilling.
Remember the town of little people, Laputa? They employed flappers, whose job it was to flap the lips of the officials with a bladder on a stick. They could not speak in public unless their flappers did their job.
It seems that the Flappers have a union, and they *really* don't want to be circumvented here. If the sky was blue, it wouldn't be officially so unless they reported it.
It's the sort of thing we'd expect from the goverrnment of Laputa; after all, they were fictional. There wouldn't be any such behaviour in real life, would there?
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DemocracyNow.org report this email from the State Dept Office of Career Services to Columbia University students at the School of International and Public Affairs:
"The documents released during the past few months through Wikileaks are still considered classified documents. He recommends that you DO NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter. Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government"
"Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government" .....
Hmmm .... State Dept Office of Career Services might like to consider that smarter students, now mindful of the inability of the State Dept to deal with and hide from view their dirty laundry and dodgy tricks, will be tempted elsewhere and maybe even into the extremely lucrative fields which can make full and novel and disruptive use of the vulnerabilities and opportunities which cooked diplomatic channels and some right dodgy cabling, offers for free.
Thanks for that Uncle Sam. It is an interesting New Deal Start Methodology to out the Parasites that Suck the Vitality out of your Being for their own Selfish Satisfaction, or whatever it is that drivers them.
You'd think students at Columbia University would be smart enough to make their own decision. God, everyone is so coddled.
Wikileaks made a mistake by posting gossip. For the most part, the pundits were unable to really go after them with previous leaks because they were actually warranted.
If all these documents are nothing but gossip and reading them is a waste of time, then what about the time wasted writing them. At least one useful thing about the leaks is that they show how much money we waste to pay for super-rich ambassadors and their staff only to have them write gossip and things that anyone already knows unless you are completely detached from reality (admittedly a common problem for people in government).
Does the US need an ambassador in Italy to realise that Berlusconi and Putin are buddies? Really? Oh I see... the foreign press is written in funny languages so the US needs high rank diplomats to translate it into English.
Common sense and idiotism do not mix.
The common sense reaction to this would have been to just release the whole lot. On a federal website.
This way the Ass(ange) can no longer play his favourite routine of being the media favourite attention w**re. Further to this, this kills the entire spiel of "drip-feeding the "juicy bits". The sole reason the scandal is so big and and so prolonged is that specific "interesting bits" are announced on a daily basis so it becomes a never ending story.
If it was released in one bulk it would have become a non-story in 24h so Mr Assange will have to go media attention wh**e somewhere else. However common sense and working in a TLA named institution do not mix.
People, this is simply a clarification of government policy on classified files. Just because you can access it, does NOT mean it is not still classified. IOW, if you don;t have access to these normally, reading them online is legally no different from reading them internally.
There's a LOT of stuff people can get to, and even open, that is still an "eyes only" document. It doesn't change whether or not you LEGALLY can, even if you physically can.
This was a reminder that reading them, talking about them at the water cooler, sharing insight on them, et al, is still all just as illegal as they are still classified (out in the open or not).
Technically anyone accessing these leaks is breaking the law, but the punishment applies a bit differently if you are contracted under the government and secret clearance rights vs a layman who has made no direct contract with the government.
"I think you'll also find that the assumption by americans that their laws apply everywhere in the world is one of the things that people most dislike about them."
"americans" Really, all Americans think the same? I think your assumptions are broad and missing the mark. I think you're confusing law, jursidiction, extradition, diplomacy and a few other concepts.
Show your support for wikileaks by cancelling your paypal account, letting them know that you will renew when they stop rolling over to threats from individuals. The US is still a nation of laws and threats from people like Lieberman must not be enough to affect any company's policies.
The day after I cancelled my paypal account I actually was on ebay and could not buy something because the merchant only accepted paypal.
Small price to pay.
As for Amazon, there are lots of other places that sell books. Perhaps not as convenient, but again small price to pay.
It's not really so much 'comedy' or 'closing the barn door after the horse has gone' even though it looks ridiculous to the casual observer.
Instead, it's really more red tape. When you gain a security clearance, you sign what amounts to a general-purpose NDA saying, in essence, keep your eyes and hands where they belong.
The fact that those who are cleared cannot then access classified information that leaks into the public domain is more a side-effect than anything else; the White House's statement is merely a clarification of that.
Part of the reason for this is to prevent accidental disclosure--if you're cleared for certain related projects, for instance, to one which was leaked, you might find out information that should have been compartmentalized and which, combined with what you know, would give you insight into things you aren't cleared for; this presents a security risk as, if you're not cleared for that level, you're not judged to be quite trustworthy enough to handle it.
So yes, out of context, it's absurd and frankly rather funny. In-context, it's just more dreary bureaucracy.
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