Saturday, November 14, 2015

OpenStack 11/14/2015 (p.m.)

  • Tags: surveillance state, UK, ISPs, cost, Snooper's-Charter

    • How much extra will you have to pay for the privilege of being spied on?
    • UK ISPs have warned MPs that the costs of implementing the Investigatory Powers Bill (aka the Snooper's Charter) will be much greater than the £175 million the UK government has allotted for the task, and that broadband bills will need to rise as a result. Representatives from ISPs and software companies told the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee that the legislation greatly underestimates the "sheer quantity" of data generated by Internet users these days. They also pointed out that distinguishing content from metadata is a far harder task than the government seems to assume.

      Matthew Hare, the chief executive of ISP Gigaclear, said with "a typical 1 gigabit connection to someone's home, over 50 terabytes of data per year [are] passing over it. If you say that a proportion of that is going to be the communications data—the record of who you communicate with, when you communicate or what you communicate—there would be the most massive and enormous amount of data that in future an access provider would be expected to keep. The indiscriminate collection of mass data across effectively every user of the Internet in this country is going to have a massive cost."

    • Moreover, the larger the cache of stored data, the more worthwhile it will be for criminals and state-backed actors to gain access and download that highly-revealing personal information for fraud and blackmail. John Shaw, the vice president of product management at British security firm Sophos, told the MPs: "There would be a huge amount of very sensitive personal data that could be used by bad guys.
    • The ISPs also challenged the government's breezy assumption that separating the data from the (equally revealing) metadata would be simple, not least because an Internet connection is typically being used for multiple services simultaneously, with data packets mixed together in a completely contingent way.

      Hare described a typical usage scenario for a teenager on their computer at home, where they are playing a game communicating with their friends using Steam; they are broadcasting the game using Twitch; and they may also be making a voice call at the same time too. "All those applications are running simultaneously," Hare said. "They are different applications using different servers with different services and different protocols. They are all running concurrently on that one machine."

      Even accessing a Web page is much more complicated than the government seems to believe, Hare pointed out. "As a webpage is loading, you will see that that webpage is made up of tens, or many tens, of individual sessions that have been created across the Internet just to load a single webpage. Bluntly, if you want to find out what someone is doing you need to be tracking all of that data all the time."

    • Hare raised another major issue. "If I was a software business ... I would be very worried that my customers would not buy my software any more if it had anything to do with security at all. I would be worried that a backdoor was built into the software by the [Investigatory Powers] Bill that would allow the UK government to find out what information was on that system at any point they wanted in the future."

      As Ars reported last week, the ability to demand that backdoors are added to systems, and a legal requirement not to reveal that fact under any circumstances, are two of the most contentious aspects of the new Investigatory Powers Bill.

      The latest comments from industry experts add to concerns that the latest version of the Snooper's Charter would inflict great harm on civil liberties in the UK, and also make security research well-nigh impossible here. To those fears can now be added undermining the UK software industry, as well as forcing the UK public to pay for the privilege of having their ISP carry out suspicionless surveillance.

  • The European Community's Court of Justice decision in the Safe Harbor case --- and Edward Snowden --- are now officially downgrading the U.S. as a cloud data center location. NSA is good business for Europeans looking to displace American cloud service providers, as evidenced by Microsoft's decision. The legal test is whether Microsoft has "possession, custody, or control" of the data. From the info given in the article, it seems that Microsoft has done its best to dodge that bullet by moving data centers to Germany and placing their data under the control of a European company. Do ownership of the hardware and profits from their rent mean that Microsoft still has "possession, custody, or control" of the data? The fine print of the agreement with Deutsche Telekom and the customer EULAs will get a thorough going over by the Dept. of Justice for evidence of Microsoft "control" of the data. That will be the crucial legal issue. The data centers in Germany may pass the test. But the notion that data centers in the UK can offer privacy is laughable; the UK's legal authority for GCHQ makes it even easier to get the data than the NSA can in the U.S.  It doesn't even require a court order. 

    Tags: surveillance state, NSA, FBI, EU, data-centers, privacy

    • Microsoft's new plan to keep the US government's hands off its customers' data: Germany will be a safe harbor in the digital privacy storm.

      Microsoft on Wednesday announced that beginning in the second half of 2016, it will give foreign customers the option of keeping data in new European facilities that, at least in theory, should shield customers from US government surveillance.

      It will cost more, according to the Financial Times, though pricing details weren't forthcoming.

      Microsoft Cloud - including Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online - will be hosted from new datacenters in the German regions of Magdeburg and Frankfurt am Main.

      Access to data will be controlled by what the company called a German data trustee: T-Systems, a subsidiary of the independent German company Deutsche Telekom.

      Without the permission of Deutsche Telekom or customers, Microsoft won't be able to get its hands on the data. If it does get permission, the trustee will still control and oversee Microsoft's access.

    • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella dropped the word "trust" into the company's statement:

      Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every individual on the planet to achieve more. Our new datacenter regions in Germany, operated in partnership with Deutsche Telekom, will not only spur local innovation and growth, but offer customers choice and trust in how their data is handled and where it is stored.

    • On Tuesday, at the Future Decoded conference in London, Nadella also announced that Microsoft would, for the first time, be opening two UK datacenters next year. The company's also expanding its existing operations in Ireland and the Netherlands.

      Officially, none of this has anything to do with the long-drawn-out squabbling over the transatlantic Safe Harbor agreement, which the EU's highest court struck down last month, calling the agreement "invalid" because it didn't protect data from US surveillance.

      No, Nadella said, the new datacenters and expansions are all about giving local businesses and organizations "transformative technology they need to seize new global growth."

      But as Diginomica reports, Microsoft EVP of Cloud and Enterprise Scott Guthrie followed up his boss’s comments by saying that yes, the driver behind the new datacenters is to let customers keep data close:

      We can guarantee customers that their data will always stay in the UK. Being able to very concretely tell that story is something that I think will accelerate cloud adoption further in the UK.

    • Microsoft and T-Systems' lawyers may well think that storing customer data in a German trustee data center will protect it from the reach of US law, but for all we know, that could be wishful thinking.

      Forrester cloud computing analyst Paul Miller:

      To be sure, we must wait for the first legal challenge. And the appeal. And the counter-appeal.

      As with all new legal approaches, we don’t know it is watertight until it is challenged in court. Microsoft and T-Systems’ lawyers are very good and say it's watertight. But we can be sure opposition lawyers will look for all the holes.

      By keeping data offshore - particularly in Germany, which has strong data privacy laws - Microsoft could avoid the situation it's now facing with the US demanding access to customer emails stored on a Microsoft server in Dublin.

      The US has argued that Microsoft, as a US company, comes under US jurisdiction, regardless of where it keeps its data.

    • Running away to Germany isn't a groundbreaking move; other US cloud services providers have already pledged expansion of their EU presences, including Amazon's plan to open a UK datacenter in late 2016 that will offer what CTO Werner Vogels calls "strong data sovereignty to local users."

      Other big data operators that have followed suit: Salesforce, which has already opened datacenters in the UK and Germany and plans to open one in France next year, as well as new EU operations pledged for the new year by NetSuite and Box.

      Can Germany keep the US out of its datacenters? Can Ireland?

      Time, and court cases, will tell.

  • France isn't happy about this. http://www.thelocal.de/20151112/france-demands-answers-over-german-spying

    Tags: surveillance state, Germany, U.S., BND, ICC, WHO, France, UK, Switzerland, Greece, Vatican, Red-Cross

    • German public radio station rbb-Inforadio reported Wednesday that the country's foreign intelligence agency spied on the FBI and U.S. arms companies, adding to a growing list of targets among friendly nations the agency allegedly eavesdropped on.

      The station claimed that Germany's BND also spied on the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the World Health Organization, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and even a German diplomat who headed an EU observer mission to Georgia from 2008 to 2011.

      It provided no source for its report, but the respected German weekly Der Spiegel also reported at the weekend that the BND targeted phone numbers and email addresses of officials in the United States, Britain, France, Switzerland, Greece, the Vatican and other European countries, as well as at international aid groups such as the Red Cross.

      The claims are particularly sensitive in Germany because the government reacted with anger two years ago to reports that the U.S. eavesdropped on German targets, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, who declared at the time that "spying among friends, that's just wrong."

      German lawmakers have broadened a probe into the U.S. National Security Agency's activities in the country to include the work of the BND.


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