Back when the people of Iran were busy protesting their election being stolen, I found out about a program called “TOR”. Webpage here.

The Tor software is a program you can run on your computer that helps keep you safe on the Internet. Tor protects you by
bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location. This set of volunteer relays is called the Tor network. You can read more about how Tor works on the overview page.

Tor is non profit, and it’s an open secret that it was partly funded
by the US government so that disadents pushing democratic change in
their countries could get news out.

Ah, but now that the NSA scandal has hit, the Mainstream media has
noticed  that it is also enabling bad guys, from pedophiles to drug
dealers to jihadis.
This old NBC news article on the “underweb” notes the same thing:

When the German Foreign Office hosted a human rights conference several months ago, one of the invited guest organizations was the Tor Project.
The Tor Project runs a secure, anonymous network and distributes free
software used by dissidents and free speech activists worldwide.
Activists in countries like Syria and Ethiopia use Tor regularly. The Tor Project, in fact, receives funding from the United States State Department for that very purpose.

There’s a catch, however. The same secure communications Tor offers have
attracted spies, criminals, and pedophiles alongside political

And if I, a lowly grandmom in the rural Philippines, knows about TOR
(I’ve posted about it and where you can download the software in the
past), why doesn’t the NSA know about it.


The answer: They do know about it, but it isn’t a big story for the
Mainstream media except on pages that discuss business and/or the
internet.A lot of the spin about the NSA story is just that: Spin to sell newspapers.

The monitoring of email etc. was known to most folks: What upsets
people is that it is done on everyone, not just on high risk people and
approved by a court order.

Another problem: that the information is being stored forever, and
that there is some evidence that things are being leaked for political

There is a lot of left wing anti Americanism in the world, which
notices the splinter in America’s eye while ignoring the plank in the
eye of those who hate America, be they jihadis or places run by
dictators, including China.

So the papers are hyper-ventillating that the US is monitoring
Chinese computers and even hacking them, while ignoring the bigger story
about the “Great firewall” of China.

It’s an open secret that the Chinese have been monitoring their own internet this for years, not
just against their own dissadents, where a tweet about a riot
protesting corruption can get you put into jail, but doing industrial
espionage to steal trade secrets from western countries.

And then there is the organized spying by China on the west to steal industrial secrets…and it is only recently that the US has decided to fight back.In other words, a cyberwar right now is going on, and unless one is
a geek, you might not know anything about it. If you are a non geek, a
summary of the war can be found in various articles on Strategypage.

In other words, a lot of this informaion is not a secret at all to
those who follow the tech sites, or even those working late at night who
listen to Coast To Coast AM. and can sift the nugget of truth from the conspiracy nuts.

Indeed, I had to laugh when the StrategyPage guys discussed the
original “Wikileaks” scandal, saying: Yes, we guessed that one right.

A lot of the stuff that was leaked were open secrets or rumors that
were known but only reported in blogs or specialist type news.

I’ll give an example.
Most international civil rights groups know about the US funding of
population control in poor, non white countries, a policy that has been
done since Nixon’s time.

But the latest  Wikileaks made it official on how American funds and the US State Department were funneling money to the Philippines to pass a population control bill.
(Maybe the next “leak” will tell us how the same FilAm millionaire used
her money to help reelect President Obama and also funneled money to
help the pro RH politicians during the last election?)In other words, despite the cry that Mr Snowdon is a “traitor”, the
dirty little secret is that he didn’t leak secrets per se, but only got
publicity for what the NSA was doing to a public who is fed Kardashian
news instead of hard news.

Yet, that doesn’t make the idea that the government is snooping on
ordinary Americans any better (it only makes us know we weren’t being

Two problems with this widespread data collection:
First: what when you collect too much “garbage” the real problems get lost in the chaff.
Second: the really bad guys aren’t being monitored.
has an interesting article that points out that the broad NSA
information gathering tends to gather information on ordinary folks (not
suspected of crime) but misses the really hard core jihadis and
criminals, who manage to hide their stuff from easy scrutiny.

 In a January 2012 report
titled “Jihadism on the Web: A Breeding Ground for Jihad in the Modern
Age,” the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service drew a
convincing picture of an Islamist Web underground centered around “core
forums.” These websites are part of the Deep Web, or Undernet, the
multitude of online resources not indexed by commonly used search

So grandmom’s “LOL Cat” emails that she sends all over the world will
probably be watched, but not the pedophiles using TOR and certainly not
the jihadis.

I’m sure that makes me feel better.
The bad news? Facebook might be watching Grandmom too.


ZDNET: Which is worse: facebook or the NSA?Facebook probably collects more data about your internet use than the NSA does.

Even more to the point, to quote from the company’s Data Usage Policy:

We also put together data from the information we already
have about you and your friends. For example, we may put together data
about you to determine which friends we should show you in your News
Feed or suggest you tag in the photos you post. We may put together your
current city with GPS and other location information we have about you
to, for example, tell you and your friends about people or events
nearby, or offer deals to you that you might be interested in. We may
also put together data about you to serve you ads that might be more
relevant to you.

yes but so far Facebook (and Google which does the same thing) isn’t
in a position to arrest you for sending emails of kitties to enemy


Wait until Obamacare and the gov’t push to computerize medical records becomes universal.

Then not only Grandmom’s “Lol cat” emails will be sucked into a black
hole for big brother to monitor, but you will find her pap smears and
medical history…

Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines

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