• Quote of the week

    Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing…. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.
    — George Orwell 1984

The NSA Worked to “Track Down” Bitcoin Users, Snowden Documents Reveal

A mysterious data source provided the spy agency with a wealth of information to identify bitcoin holders.

Internet paranoiacs drawn to bitcoin have long indulged fantasies of American spies subverting the booming, controversial digital currency. Increasingly popular among get-rich-quick speculators, bitcoin started out as a high-minded project to make financial transactions public and mathematically verifiable — while also offering discretion. Governments, with a vested interest in controlling how money moves, would, some of bitcoin’s fierce advocates believed, naturally try and thwart the coming techno-libertarian financial order.

It turns out the conspiracy theorists were onto something. Classified documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden show that the National Security Agency indeed worked urgently to target bitcoin users around the world — and wielded at least one mysterious source of information to “help track down senders and receivers of Bitcoins,” according to a top-secret passage in an internal NSA report dating to March 2013. The data source appears to have leveraged the NSA’s ability to harvest and analyze raw, global internet traffic while also exploiting an unnamed software program that purported to offer anonymity to users, according to other documents.

Although the agency was interested in surveilling some competing cryptocurrencies, “Bitcoin is #1 priority,” a March 15, 2013 internal NSA report stated.

The documents indicate that “tracking down” bitcoin users went well beyond closely examining bitcoin’s public transaction ledger, known as the Blockchain, where users are typically referred to through anonymous identifiers; the tracking may also have involved gathering intimate details of these users’ computers. The NSA collected some bitcoin users’ password information, internet activity, and a type of unique device identification number known as a MAC address, a March 29, 2013 NSA memo suggested. In the same document, analysts also discussed tracking internet users’ internet addresses, network ports, and timestamps to identify “BITCOIN Targets.”

The agency appears to have wanted even more data: The March 29 memo raised the question of whether the data source validated its users, and suggested that the agency retained bitcoin information in a file named “Provider user full.csv.” It also suggested powerful search capabilities against bitcoin targets, hinting that the NSA may have been using its XKeyScore searching system, where the bitcoin information and wide range of other NSA data was cataloged, to enhance its information on bitcoin users. An NSA reference document indicated that the data source provided “user data such as billing information and Internet Protocol addresses.” With this sort of information in hand, putting a name to a given bitcoin user would be easy.

he NSA’s budding bitcoin spy operation looks to have been enabled by its unparalleled ability to siphon traffic from the physical cable connections that form the internet and ferry its traffic around the planet. As of 2013, the NSA’s bitcoin tracking was achieved through program code-named OAKSTAR, a collection of covert corporate partnerships enabling the agency to monitor communications, including by harvesting internet data as it traveled along fiber optic cables that undergird the internet.

Specifically, the NSA targeted bitcoin through MONKEYROCKET, a sub-program of OAKSTAR, which tapped network equipment to gather data from the Middle East, Europe, South America, and Asia, according to classified descriptions. As of spring 2013, MONKEYROCKET was “the sole source of SIGDEV for the BITCOIN Targets,” the March 29, 2013 NSA report stated, using the term for signals intelligence development, “SIGDEV,” to indicate the agency had no other way to surveil bitcoin users. The data obtained through MONKEYROCKET is described in the documents as “full take” surveillance, meaning the entirety of data passing through a network was examined and at least some entire data sessions were stored for later analysis.

At the same time, MONKEYROCKET is also described in the documents as a “non-Western Internet anonymization service” with a “significant user base” in Iran and China, with the program brought online in summer 2012. It is unclear what exactly this product was, but it would appear that it was promoted on the internet under false pretenses: The NSA notes that part of its “long-term strategy” for MONKEYROCKET was to “attract targets engaged in terrorism, [including] Al Qaida” toward using this “browsing product,” which “the NSA can then exploit.” The scope of the targeting would then expand beyond terrorists. Whatever this piece of software was, it functioned a privacy bait and switch, tricking bitcoin users into using a tool they thought would provide anonymity online but was actually funneling data directly to the NSA.

The hypothesis that the NSA would “launch an entire operation overseas under false pretenses” just to track targets is “pernicious,” said Matthew Green, assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University Information Security Institute. Such a practice could spread distrust of privacy software in general, particularly in areas like Iran where such tools are desperately needed by dissidents. This “feeds a narrative that the U.S. is untrustworthy,” said Green. “That worries me.”

The NSA declined to comment for this article. The Bitcoin Foundation, a nonprofit advocacy organization, could not immediately comment.

Source: The NSA Worked to “Track Down” Bitcoin Users, Snowden Documents Reveal

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  • Famous Quotes In History

    By 1850, the House of Rothschild represented more wealth than all the families of Europe. Shortly after he formed the Bank of England, William Patterson lost control of it to Nathan Rothschild and here is how he did it:

    “Nathan Rothschild was an observer on the day the Duke of Wellington defeated Napoleon at Waterloo, Belgium. He knew that with this information he could make a fortune. He later paid a sailor a big fee to take him across the English Channel in bad weather. The news of Napoleon’s defeat would take a while to hit England. When Nathan arrived in London, he began selling securities and bonds in a panic. The other investors were deceived into believing that Napoleon won the war and was eyeing England so they began to sell their securities too. What they were unaware of is that Rothschild’s agents were buying all the securities that were being sold in panic. In one day, the Rothschild fortune grew by one million pounds. They literally bought control of England for a few cents on the dollar. The same way the Rockefeller’s went into Japan after World War 2 and bought everything 10 cents on the dollar. SONY=Standard Oil New York, a Rockefeller Company.”

    — Dr. Ken Matto (History of Lies, Thievery, and Deceit)

     

    “All our law is private law, written by The National Law Institute, Law Professors, and the Bar Association, the Agents of Foreign Banking interests. They have come to this position of writing the law by fraudulently deleting the “Titles of Nobility and Honour” Thirteenth Amendment from the Constitution for the United States, creating an oligarchy of Lawyers and Bankers controlling all three branches of our government. Most of our law comes directly through the Hague or the U.N. Almost all U.N. treaties have been codified into the U.S. codes. That’s where all our educational programs originate. The U.N. controls our education system. The Federal Register Act was created by Pres. Roosevelt in 1935. Title 3 sec. 301 et seq. by Executive Order. He gave himself the power to create federal agencies and appoint a head of the agency. He then re-delegated his authority to make law (statutory regulations) to those agency heads. One big problem there, the president has no constitutional authority to make law. Under the Constitution re-delegation of delegated authority is a felony breach. The president then gave the agencies the authority to tax. We now have government by appointment running this country. This is the shadow government sometimes spoken about, but never referred to as government by appointment. This type of government represents taxation without representation. Perhaps this is why some people believe the Constitution was suspended. It wasn’t suspended, it was buried in bureaucratic red tape.”
    — David M. Dodge

    ” I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives. ”
    — Leo Tolstoy

     

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