-   Linux - General (
-   -   Should Linux users worry about NSA or anyone that sneaks into their personal domain? (

onebuck 06-18-2013 07:33 AM

Should Linux users worry about NSA or anyone that sneaks into their personal domain?

Just curious about how my fellow Linux users feel about this issue with the USA NSA snooping about and walking on our privacy illegally? Probable cause? Who is identifying or setting the line for effect when deciding who or what is to be done by whom? Reminds me of the fox guarding the hen house. :rolleyes:

What about: NSA Has Legitimate Code Running in Linux Kernel and Android;

The National Security Agency or NSA is now in the public eye for some nefarious surveillance, but Linux users should know that the agency also had an active role the Linux kernel development, with the addition of SELinux (Security-Enhanced Linux).

According to their official website, “SELinux is an implementation of mandatory access controls (MAC) on Linux”.

Mandatory access controls allow an administrator of a system to define how applications and users can access different resources such as files, devices, networks and inter-process communication.”

It’s essentially a tool that allows for the integration of access control security policies and it works similarly to a firewall, at least from a concept point-of-view.
I am certain there are Linux users watching closely anything NSA is providing. But at what level should a government agency be involved with FOSS or even Linux? Who decides that involvement of government employees with Linux or FOSS? And why? Should we as citizens allow this? Concerned? I am very concerned with Government employees to do work outside of their realm to walk on personal privacy or providing the means to do such action(s). I do think that an agency should be used to protect the public but do it legally. Probable cause! 1984 in 2013?

Recent articles concerning Google, NSA & snooping;Linux users should consider using different safe search engines such as DuckDuckGo & Ixquick or Pandia Kids & Teens for concerned parents. DuckDuckGo growth has been good since the news about NSA, Google and privacy concerns.

Paranoia is good when it comes to ones personal information all the time, even when using your electronics/computers. Be aware!

tronayne 06-18-2013 09:28 AM

As much as I dislike government intrusion -- and, believe me, I truly do -- at the same time I understand why -- don't like it, but I do understand it.

Back in the old days -- from the 1940's though the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Cold War -- everybody understood the rules of engagement. Countries all had intelligence agencies (everybody: the UK, France, US, Soviet Union, Japan, all the Warsaw Pact countries, all the NATO countries, you name 'em). You had spies, the other guys had spies, everybody had (and still has) spies. You didn't kill each other, you didn't steal airplanes and fly them into buildings with the sole intent of murdering as many people as possible, you didn't set off bombs in crowded markets, you just didn't do that kind kind of crap. You did what you did to keep the other guy at bay so that nobody would start a nuclear war and wipe out the entire planet. It was madness, but it worked -- rational people on all sides carefully avoiding the brink.

I happened to be in West Germany the week The Wall opened on 9 November 1989 and in Berlin at the weekend, watching and listening to East Berliners literally gawking at the wonders of West Berlin and the fact that they could freely walk across the border (and walk back home, too). I never thought that I'd live to see the actual end of World War II, but I did; I never thought I'd live to see the end of the Soviet Union and the break-up of the entire bloc, all those countries that were dominated by the Soviets free to do as they please, but I did. A great sigh of relief heard 'round the world.

Now, all of us, everybody, everywhere are faced with an irrational enemy: an enemy that hates on the basis of religion and an abiding hatred of freedom and is willing to murder randomly. From the first bombing of the World Trade Center though the bombing of the Boston Marathon done only for the sake of murder and mayhem, there is nothing whatsoever rational about the actions of the people carrying out attacks -- in the US, Europe, Asia, everywhere (recall the bombings of trains in Spain, the Underground in London, hotels, restaurants, weddings, markets, embassies -- almost uncountable).

Intelligence agencies around the world are charged with discovering and stopping attacks. That's their job: keep Us safe from Them. It's been the job for thousands of years; from ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, all the way to now, that's the job. It's what CIA, NSA, MI-5 and MI-6, DCRI and DGSE, BND, Mossad, FSB, and on and on and on do (cripes, Christmas Island has an intelligence agency (see, all charged withe the same job: protect Us from Them.

Faced with an irrational enemy, what do you do? Really, just what do you do? You cannot ignore it and hope it goes away. You have to reluctantly violate some of your basic principles. You have to gather and analyze information looking for the needles in the stack of needles in the stacks of hay to try to find the one that presents the danger. You really have to try to identify the danger before it happens rather than after the bombs go off. It is a conundrum, violating the privacy of the innocent to pinpoint the about-to-be guilty. I hate that all of us are forced by the actions of the dangerous few to give up what we value so highly.

We have, unknowingly, given up a great deal of privacy by using Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Bing, Linkedin, whatever social media we crave and use -- CIA looks like rank amateurs compared to what search engines and social media know about you, your preferences, stuff you buy -- we've given up that information so we can be marketed at, and, brothers and sisters, it's used and you gave it away.

It's a little galling but I can't make a case against NSA (and all the others) looking at telephone records for calls to and from "troublesome" countries -- not conversations (since the Stasi went out of business in East Germany, conversations are not recoded by your telephone service provider), just point-to-point, number to number. If that points at known numbers used by terrorists to someone in this (or your) country, well, maybe somebody should look into that (and, perhaps, prevent rather than investigate another Boston Marathon bombing after the fact?). Do I like it, hell no. Do I think that it seems to be necessary, well, reluctantly, yes, I do (and damn me for that). If Them manages to get hold of a nuke, you can be pretty much guaranteed that they'll use it; I'd rather have that prevented before New York, London, Paris, Tel Aviv, Hong Kong, Tokyo or wherever disappears in a mushroom cloud. It's really that bad.

onebuck 06-18-2013 10:07 AM

Member Response

I do understand your points. But as Americans we do have the constitution that should be used as a governing to prevent the abuse by agencies.

NSA, CIA or any government agency should abide by the constitution and not circumvent when it's convenient. As it should be for private citizens too respect and abide by the same constitution. Not to bend or interpret for ones own needs. Obama's recent statements that NSA, FBI or whatever agency does not do anything illegally. Bull! They got caught and now spinning to get out of the microscopic viewing of their inner works. Congressional committees should get tough and do their jobs as elected moral leaders. Either do the job or get out!

We can have security and the constitution!

As to the public media snowball for the need of a Facebook, twitter or whatever, some people have chosen to use such therefore should expect to be burnt at some point in time. Why does every Facebook or twitter user have need(s) to expose such information then cry foul when someone steals their identity or stalks them? "Stupid is as stupid does" fits the Facebook or twitter user whenever posting information to open doors else where. Stupid!

As I tell members of my family who text or communicate via the social media to me: Do not expect me to respond to such! Either call me or speak to me one on one to my face. Communicate!

When out to eat I notice several tables around me of family members that are actively typing on their smartphones and do not even inter-relate with each other one on one. Then wonder why Johny or Susie have issues or just cannot carry on a intelligent conversation. All this public posting, tech speak, AOL or SMS is damaging our society.

H_TeXMeX_H 06-18-2013 11:09 AM

You cannot claim to understand something you cannot even see, like secret agencies.

As for SELinux, I have never trusted it, and I don't like the concept of it. It is just a way to lock yourself out of your own system.

No thanks, I'll keep all my power and do my best with it.

Follow good security practices and I think even the NSA would have a hard time getting into your system. Unfortunately, I don't know of a way to maintain privacy from them, they see everything.

tronayne 06-18-2013 11:22 AM

Oh, yeah, I agree in so many, many ways.

I think it's almost criminal that reading and discussing The Federalist is not mandatory in public eduction so that people would have an understanding of why the constitution is what it is -- primarily what government cannot do rather than what it can. And, you know, The Federalist is, at bottom, propaganda (now a dirty word, but not then). Hamilton, Madison and Jay explaining the what's, why's and wherefore's that so many are so so sadly ignorant of.

There has to be a balance -- and that is the job of congress. It's also our job; it is mandatory in a democracy that the people raise hell with government when they see it go awry. Most do not, aren't even aware, just go along and get along mumbling to the guy on the next bar stool at best, oblivious to what has been lost.

I'm afraid that we're approaching ineptocracy (in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) -- a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers (a T-shirt philosophy I've seen around).

You're completely right: congress is supposed to watch but they're too busy with politics to actually do anything worth much.

I have a cell phone, it's in a compartment in the instrument panel of my truck, turned off until I need it. I have a land line and an answering machine -- leave me a message or I'll never, ever call you back (and won't know or much care that you called in the first place). Send me an e-mail, I'll answer (or ignore you if you're and idiot). Tweet? What's that -- I read books and newspapers, call me old-fashioned. You've probably noticed, as have I, the Twitter shorthand popping up in LQ? Arrgghh! Always some damn fool that just has to "text" in the middle of a movie or a one-on-one conversation.

There has to be a balance, I'm just not sure where it is.

sundialsvcs 06-18-2013 01:50 PM

Indeed, the core problem is that "the ends do not justify the means," even if it actually turns out that "the means" are technically feasible. (Which I doubt, but "who cares, there's gobs of money in it, regardless.")

"Terrorists" were quickly coined in to the perfect "faceless, irrational enemy." The "Others." Surely lurking behind every lamp-post, but texting their friends and sending them un-encrypted emails to Plan Bad Things. Yessir, we've got to capture every scrap of information, vacuum every stalk of hay to find those needles in those haystacks. No amount of money that we spend on such a noble effort would be a waste, so we are told. Since we think that we can do it, we obviously must, and if you dare to ask questions about that ... well, you must be one of Them, right?

The bottom-line is that it pays to be a skeptic. To question, and I do not mean in some secret kangaroo-court, the things that (in the end...) salesmen are telling us all that we "must" spend Trillions of dollars on. There are very good reasons not to throw-away one's nation's founding principles in the name of "safety." Yes, you must "provide for the common defense," but the military industrialists are really just in this thing for the dough.

The founders of this nation weren't ignorant. They were prescient. Above all, they were students of History. If the USA continues to sally down this primrose pathway, History won't grant it a special exemption.

jefro 06-18-2013 03:10 PM

I'd think everyone has more to worry about. The decline of honey bees is more important to the world than this story.

I would have to doubt that there is any issue with SElinux. The code is open to viewing and inspection. Look at it and see if you can find any issues.

I do believe that the US has a right to look into messages and phone calls that originate from outside the US.

In the end of the day, the US is a place where the citizens don't even have to show an ID to vote. They don't have to be a legal immigrant to get free health care and food. They are protected from prosecution in many cities (so they can be free to be maids and gardeners and cooks to rich). The US is the most free country in the world. Stupid F$%#$% like the Boston brothers make it unsafe for honest hard working Americans. We need to protect them.

The only problem I have is with the NSA guy. Any guy with a stripper girlfriend is suspect to me. He may be doing this for money or drugs.

There are a number of intrusive laws already on the books. Stuff like purchases of more than 2 firearms in a day or transactions that involve more than $10,000 cash. In both cases I was "reported" and I don't care. I like to have a lot of cash on hand and when I buy firearms I buy a bunch at a time. Does it make me a criminal? Let them monitor me. I ain't skerd!

linuxCode 06-18-2013 05:14 PM


TobiSGD 06-18-2013 05:36 PM


Originally Posted by jefro (Post 4974384)
The US is the most free country in the world.

Actually no, it isn't. It currently has rank 48:

linuxCode 06-18-2013 08:10 PM

I personally don't like this NSA thing. Yes, it's good for catching the bad guys out there but it can accidentally red-flagged innocent people just because they used those same keywords they are filtering for in communication. Sometimes people use those keywords in a totally different meaning of content.

jefro 06-18-2013 08:39 PM

I disagree with their opinion.

Freedom may mean one thing to them and another to me.

linuxCode 06-18-2013 08:45 PM

@ jefro

410. That page doesn't exist.

from the link above

Captain Pinkeye 06-19-2013 02:47 AM


Originally Posted by TobiSGD (Post 4974449)
Actually no, it isn't. It currently has rank 48:

It's alphabetized. :D

teckk 06-19-2013 10:13 AM

Jefro, those are some good points that you've made.

In the end of the day, the US is a place where the citizens don't even have to show an ID to vote
Even though the electorate has voted for that, and legislators have passed that. Courts, who have imagined themselves to be final arbiters of the law, have overridden the will of the electorate. In our system the courts have no law making authority. It is the elected branch of government, the legislature that has authority to make laws. Yet the courts have been allowed to yes-no to laws that the legislature have passed. Isn't that incredible. Foreign nationals can vote in US elections! You don't even have to prove that you are a citizen of a country to vote in it!

They don't have to be a legal immigrant to get free health care and food.
Another incredible statement. You commit a felony but sneaking into the US, and you can have free health care, food, education for your kids, and we'll give you amnesty for your crime!

or transactions that involve more than $10,000 cash
Yes, and for 25 years now, if you are found by a police officer to have large amounts of cash in your possession they can confiscate it, and you'll have to prove where you got it, and how you got it, to get it back. They are called rico statutes. That has happened several times in the news.

The US is the most free country in the world
I'm not sure that is true at all. We are a police state under surveillance.

We are told what speech we can use as free speech and what speech is not allowed. Political and religious speech are the two types of speech specifically mentioned by name in the first amendment to the US Constitution that the government can't stop. Try to talk about Jesus in your graduation speech. Try to wear a "I like Jesus" T shirt in the public schools. Where is their free speech? And where did government get the authority to quench it?

The second amendment says government can't abridge your right to own and carry arms. Then where did they get the authority to decide if you can carry arms?

The fourth amendment says government can't search you or your property or seize your property without a writ from a court. Your property also can not be used by government without due compensation. Where did they get the authority to stop someone for drug possession and then confiscate the persons car, take the car and sell it at action, and keep the money? Where did they get the authority to read your email without a writ from a court?

The fifth amendment says that government can't hold you without due process. Where did they get the authority to hold terror suspects indefinitely without a charge or without facing their accusers in a court of law?

I could go on...My point is that government has been acting illegally for decades now. And we the people have let it happen. It's kinda like wanting to shut the gate after the cows are out.

teckk 06-19-2013 10:33 AM


I'm afraid that we're approaching ineptocracy (in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) -- a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers (a T-shirt philosophy I've seen around).
Great statement. Right on target.

From the OP

Just curious about how my fellow Linux users feel about this issue with the USA NSA snooping about and walking on our privacy illegally?
You asked what we think. I think that this latest revelation is just one of a long line of complaints We The People have against an out of control machine. Allow me to say this.

There have been quite a few post's on LQ that are political in nature of late. I've made a few of them. Members form outside the US may be puzzled as to why.

What you are seeing in these posts is a citizenry that is outraged by a government that is refusing to obey the laws of the land. An elite ruling class that imagines them self to be above the rule of law while requiring it's citizens to do obeisance to them. A denunciation of a court system that has overstepped it's constitutional parameters of authority and actually makes law from the bench. A court system that has zero law making authority. US law making is the sole authority of the US congress with the US presidents participation. A disgust of a derelict US congress that refuses to use their impeachment powers to remove those judges who refuse to obey the law. And an outrage against a police state that now imagines that they may search, seize, spy, assault, and kill at will. All without receiving a warrant from a court. I'm not sure just how much the rest of the world knows about the tinderbox that the US is. I don't know how much of this is making the news reports in Europe and Asia. The US in 2013 is in a conferrable place to where the US was in the 1850's. The 1850's in the US were pre civil war years. Civil wars are the bloodiest, most barbarous conflicts that men have. Therefore it is of great import for us to reign in big, illegal, elitist government, and a return to We The People.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:18 AM.