Author Topic: Freedom of speech  (Read 87352 times)

Offline Veinticinco de Mayo

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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #800 on: January 29, 2015, 09:16:41 pm »
That's true, but the burka does seem to violate something precious about the host culture. It looks medieval because it is medieval. It looks aggressive. It seems to say "I don't belong, and I don't want to belong". It certainly looks oppressive. And - once you learn the reason why it's worn - it looks accusatory ("If I wasn't wearing this you'd probably rape me").

Waves of immigration have benefited the UK in so many ways. But the UK and British democratic culture can also be of enormous benefit to immigrants too. We talk of the obligations we have to immigrants and we generally understand what they are and welcome those obligations. I think immigrants also have an obligation to the culture they emigrate to.

I probably wouldn't to ban the burka like the French. Though I wouldn't allow it in schools or hospitals or government buildings. But I would expect Muslim women to try and discard this piece of ancient body clothing.

There again, it's not always the women who make the choice is it? A bit like arranged marriages. Sometimes they do make the choice, but often the custom is imposed upon them. I think we all feel that's wrong. 

I think we're pretty much coming at the same point from different directions.  I agree with you about the Burqa, I would to see its use decline.  I just think that prohibition is totally the wrong solution and will probably make the situation worse rather than better.
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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #801 on: January 29, 2015, 09:17:09 pm »
The Muslim lads in our team will not even go anywhere that is licensed so even most meals are a no go.  If we want to go out for a meal as a team then we need to go to somewhere that does not serve alcohol at all.  This includes some fine curry establishments to be fair.
I've never experienced this myself. 

I don't think that the Muslim people I have worked with would go to an event that was just a massive booze up with a few popadoms thrown in, but otherwise they've always got involved.
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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #802 on: January 29, 2015, 09:24:31 pm »
Obviously everyone needs Muslim sensitivity training.
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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #803 on: January 29, 2015, 09:27:19 pm »
The Muslim lads in our team will not even go anywhere that is licensed so even most meals are a no go.  If we want to go out for a meal as a team then we need to go to somewhere that does not serve alcohol at all. 

What do you think about that? It seems a bit dramatic, to be honest. Could they not just, well, not drink? The fact they don't want to even darken the door of the place suggests a bit more disapproval than a simple personal injunction on imbibing alcohol.

I was with an ex Muslim friend a while back and we went into a kebab shop. The serving guys were from the same country as my bud so they exchanged friendly greetings which quickly cooled for no reason I could make out. He told me later that they probably noticed he'd been drinking and out came the judgement.

Offline Dr. Beaker

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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #804 on: January 29, 2015, 09:41:15 pm »
French Muslims don't have equal work opportunities? Sorry, I'm not sure what you're getting at, can you expand?
Not really mate. It just seems to me from what I hear from numerous French family and acquaintances that they are quite openly less welcoming of the musllm community than us. Ghettoisation would obviously be putting it too strong, but there are places, I'm told, where there is a lot of seething resentment amongst the young unemployed muslims. Purely anecdotal, but hardly unbelievable.
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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #805 on: January 29, 2015, 11:11:32 pm »
Great when on your hols but mass immigration always brings something of itself along, it generally enriches, be it pizza, textiles, bagels and reubens or curry.
Quick general question (for anyone really). I can remember meeting my first Muslim in the sixties, in Idi Amin's wake. But I don't remember any burqas in those days. I don't remember, in later years, Spike Milligan or Alf Garnett making any mention of them either (as they surely would have). So when did burqas first show up here?

Edit: Probably the 80's in Harrods naughty knickers dept. Though half of them would probably have been blokes - Christ, I know I've tried it.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 11:23:03 pm by Dr. Beaker »
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Offline Veinticinco de Mayo

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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #806 on: January 29, 2015, 11:23:51 pm »
What do you think about that? It seems a bit dramatic, to be honest. Could they not just, well, not drink? The fact they don't want to even darken the door of the place suggests a bit more disapproval than a simple personal injunction on imbibing alcohol.

I was with an ex Muslim friend a while back and we went into a kebab shop. The serving guys were from the same country as my bud so they exchanged friendly greetings which quickly cooled for no reason I could make out. He told me later that they probably noticed he'd been drinking and out came the judgement.

It seems like overkill but they don't want to be around people drinking and at the end of the day it is their decision.  It's a shame because it means that they don't get involved in team social activities as much as I would like.  It just requires a bit of give and take in that we need to consciously try and find activities they can join in with and they need to accept that we are going to do things that they cannot join in with.

It's a position that has hardened in the last ten years I think, they have, to an extent turned inwards, and their social world very much revolves around family, community and mosque. It's a response that probably only becomes possible somewhere with a large and long established Muslim community.
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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #807 on: January 29, 2015, 11:30:28 pm »
I'm trying to think of a comparator and I've come up with bullfighting. If I were living and working in some Spanish place where the whole office made a break for the bullfighting ring at five on a Friday, for beers and tasty treats and team fucking building, I would not be going. Because I think bullfighting is shitty.   

Offline Veinticinco de Mayo

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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #808 on: January 29, 2015, 11:42:01 pm »
Quick general question (for anyone really). I can remember meeting my first Muslim in the sixties, in Idi Amin's wake. But I don't remember any burqas in those days. I don't remember, in later years, Spike Milligan or Alf Garnett making any mention of them either (as they surely would have). So when did burqas first show up here?

Edit: Probably the 80's in Harrods naughty knickers dept. Though half of them would probably have been blokes - Christ, I know I've tried it.

There has definitely been a sea change, I've discussed this with Yorky at length in the past.  Traditionally immigrant communities integrate into the community into which they have moved.  They may keep religion, tradition, culture and food but each generation becomes slightly more "british" (deliberately using that with a small b).  That no longer seems to be happening, if anything the process is going in reverse.  I think the key difference is travel shrinking the world and the internet.  When the Huguenots arrived in East London they lost all contact with their previous life.  When Jews escaped the pogroms or Hitler they had news of what was happening but they could not return they were similarly disconnected.  British Muslims of Pakistani origin are in constant contact with family back home, they return to visit regularly.

Pakistan has been destabilised and radicalised by 35 years of external meddling and that rubs off.  They can look on the Internet and see US drone strikes killing innocent  Muslims in Pakistan and that rubs off.  The oppression of the Palestinians continues unchecked by the normal demands for restraint from world governments, and that rubs off.
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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #809 on: January 29, 2015, 11:45:18 pm »
That's a very good point, VdeM. I had posted before about how the internet would "atheise" people but I never considered the reverse, that it would keep migrants in their set beliefs, rather than being challenged by their new society.

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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #810 on: January 30, 2015, 12:18:26 am »
I think we're pretty much coming at the same point from different directions.  I agree with you about the Burqa, I would to see its use decline.  I just think that prohibition is totally the wrong solution and will probably make the situation worse rather than better.

I think that's quite terrible to be honest. I've grown up with too many muslim friends to count and my housemate for 2 years here in Australia was a muslim. I'm also friends with a French muslim now (And I say muslim but I don't think he's religious at all, so I guess that doesn't count). But the point is that I've probably known/know many people of many different denominations and many different levels of I guess for want of a better word, cultural dogmatism. And in all of that I've yet to come across someone that refuses to go to a restaurant that is licensed and prevented someone else from having a drink. I've thrown parties in my house with shitloads of people from all corners of the world and I've had my muslim friends from Pakistan turn up to it, not have a sip of alcohol and yet stay the night. I don't know the people you work with but it does seem quite excessive and nothing like frankly the many many muslim people I've known/know in my life.
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Offline Twelfth Man

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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #811 on: January 30, 2015, 12:23:57 am »
That's a very good point, VdeM. I had posted before about how the internet would "atheise" people but I never considered the reverse, that it would keep migrants in their set beliefs, rather than being challenged by their new society.
It is not just the internet. The rise of cable TV means, everyone in the family tends to end up watching Pakistani channels, there is little contact with BBC or terrestrial broadcasting, national newspapers. It means whole communities can live as if they were back in Pakistan (using them as an example). It happens in the Indian community too. Every community now has a plethora of radio stations catering for just their community, fine in 99% of the cases but some of the stuff these radio shows spout has been called into question. Add to that the rise of faith based schools, a stupid policy if there ever was one, and basically you just telling a community to not to bother with the culture of the country they are living in. Contrast this approach with the French model where everyone is encourage to be a Citizen because that is the highest ideal. In Britain it is a case of yes be British and only up to a point.


« Last Edit: January 30, 2015, 01:22:47 am by Twelfth Man »
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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #812 on: January 30, 2015, 12:26:04 am »
It is not just the internet. The rise of cabal TV means, everyone in the family tends to end up watching Pakistani channels, there is little contact with BBC or terrestrial broadcasting, national newspapers. It means whole communities can live as if they were back in Pakistan (using them as an example). It happens in the Indian community too.

I know. I spent New Years at my wife's brother's place, with his Uzbeki wife who made us all watch Putin's speech.

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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #813 on: January 30, 2015, 12:27:40 am »
It is not just the internet. The rise of cabal TV means, everyone in the family tends to end up watching Pakistani channels, there is little contact with BBC or terrestrial broadcasting, national newspapers. It means whole communities can live as if they were back in Pakistan (using them as an example). It happens in the Indian community too.

I think the original point that VdeM made is really pertinent. And this is spot on too. By having easy access to what they left behind they are able to retain the connect or to put it more accurately, live as they would have in their home countries and do so with a better quality of life where they're free to do as they please.
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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #814 on: January 30, 2015, 01:02:38 am »
What do you think about that? It seems a bit dramatic, to be honest. Could they not just, well, not drink? The fact they don't want to even darken the door of the place suggests a bit more disapproval than a simple personal injunction on imbibing alcohol.

I was with an ex Muslim friend a while back and we went into a kebab shop. The serving guys were from the same country as my bud so they exchanged friendly greetings which quickly cooled for no reason I could make out. He told me later that they probably noticed he'd been drinking and out came the judgement.
It seems like overkill but they don't want to be around people drinking and at the end of the day it is their decision.  It's a shame because it means that they don't get involved in team social activities as much as I would like.  It just requires a bit of give and take in that we need to consciously try and find activities they can join in with and they need to accept that we are going to do things that they cannot join in with.
I think that's quite terrible to be honest. I've grown up with too many muslim friends to count and my housemate for 2 years here in Australia was a muslim. I'm also friends with a French muslim now (And I say muslim but I don't think he's religious at all, so I guess that doesn't count). But the point is that I've probably known/know many people of many different denominations and many different levels of I guess for want of a better word, cultural dogmatism. And in all of that I've yet to come across someone that refuses to go to a restaurant that is licensed and prevented someone else from having a drink. I've thrown parties in my house with shitloads of people from all corners of the world and I've had my muslim friends from Pakistan turn up to it, not have a sip of alcohol and yet stay the night. I don't know the people you work with but it does seem quite excessive and nothing like frankly the many many muslim people I've known/know in my life.

From what I understand it's something to do with the degree of how much something is allowed. How something falls into the categories differs as much as from individual to individual, let alone between religious scholars and denominations e.g what is considered neutral within this teaching is considered discouraged in another.

I have friends who will go but won't consume anything, those who will consume only food that is only kosher and those who will avoid it outright. So some will frequent places such as TGIF because the restaurant take the trouble to totally separate the alcohol from the food, others avoid it outright. Asked them about it, the response is along the line of proper judgement - if the place is clearly non-halal, they'll avoid it totally; otherwise the feeling of assurance will depend on how clearly the two are separated  - the simple rule of 'when in doubt, avoid'. They will however, abandon all these distinctions in the situation of absolute emergency when lives are at stake and when halal food is nowhere to be found.

As already mentioned before - what one believes and what one practices are two different things - I have seen and observed varying degrees in practice of the above rules: hardliners, moderates with conservative leanings, moderates with liberal leanings, liberals and everything in between.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2015, 01:04:18 am by Ken-Obi »
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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #815 on: January 31, 2015, 04:29:29 pm »
Not to sure about this.

 British army creates team of Facebook warriors
Soldiers familiar with social media sought for 77th Brigade, which will be responsible for ‘non-lethal warfare’



The British army is creating a special force of Facebook warriors, skilled in psychological operations and use of social media to engage in unconventional warfare in the information age.

The 77th Brigade, to be based in Hermitage, near Newbury, in Berkshire, will be about 1,500-strong and formed of units drawn from across the army. It will formally come into being in April.

The brigade will be responsible for what is described as non-lethal warfare. Both the Israeli and US army already engage heavily in psychological operations.

Against a background of 24-hour news, smartphones and social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, the force will attempt to control the narrative.

The 77th will include regulars and reservists and recruitment will begin in the spring. Soldiers with journalism skills and familiarity with social media are among those being sought.

An army spokesman said: “77th Brigade is being created to draw together a host of existing and developing capabilities essential to meet the challenges of modern conflict and warfare. It recognises that the actions of others in a modern battlefield can be affected in ways that are not necessarily violent.”

The move is partly a result of experience in counter-insurgency operations in Afghanistan. It can also be seen as a response to events of the last year that include Russia’s actions in Ukraine, in particular Crimea, and Islamic State’s (Isis) takeover of large swaths of Syria and Iraq.

Nato has so far been unable to find a counter to what the US and UK claim is Russia creating unrest by sending in regular troops disguised as local militia, allowing president Vladimir Putin to deny responsibility.Isis has proved adept at exploiting social media to attract fighters from around the world.

The Israel Defence Forces have pioneered state military engagement with social media, with dedicated teams operating since Operation Cast Lead, its war in Gaza in 2008-9. The IDF is active on 30 platforms – including Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Instagram – in six languages. “It enables us to engage with an audience we otherwise wouldn’t reach,” said an Israeli army spokesman.

It has been approached by several western countries, keen to learn from its expertise.

During last summer’s war in Gaza, Operation Protective Edge, the IDF and Hamas’s military wing, the Qassam Brigades, tweeted prolifically, sometimes engaging directly with one another.

The new brigade is being named the 77th in tribute to the Chindits, the British guerrilla force led by Maj Gen Orde Wingate against the Japanese in Burma during the second world war. Wingate adopted unorthodox and controversial tactics that achieved successes completely disproportionate to the size of his forces, sending teams deep into Japanese-held territory, creating uncertainty in the Japanese high command and forcing it to alter its strategic plans.

In a nod to the Chindits, members of the 77th Brigade will have arm badges showing a mythical Burmese creature.

The aim is that the new force will prove as flexible as the Chindits in the face of the dizzying array of challenges being thrown up in the early part of this century.

The creation of 77th Brigade comes as the commander of Nato special operations headquarters, Lt Gen Marshall Webb, speaking in Washington this week, expressed concern about Russia and about Isis.

“Special operations headquarters is uniquely placed to address this,” he said. “We tend to take an indirect approach. We can engage without being escalatory or aggressive. We tend to view things from an oblique angle, and we absolutely acknowledge that trust, information-sharing and interagency collaboration is crucial.”

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jan/31/british-army-facebook-warriors-77th-brigade
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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #816 on: January 31, 2015, 09:31:06 pm »
No different to dropping leaflets in WW2, you could argue - propaganda is a vital part of warfare. Social media is clearly a major weapon for extremist recruitment,  it makes sense to intercept targets early and hopefully avoid violent resolution further down the line.

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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #817 on: January 31, 2015, 10:09:05 pm »
No different to dropping leaflets in WW2, you could argue - propaganda is a vital part of warfare. Social media is clearly a major weapon for extremist recruitment,  it makes sense to intercept targets early and hopefully avoid violent resolution further down the line.

But why tell them you are going to do this.

It will just make people close ranks more.

More than likely the same will happen that was rumored to have happened at the Pedo message boards it was all police trying to entrap each other.

« Last Edit: January 31, 2015, 10:13:37 pm by Trada »
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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #818 on: January 31, 2015, 10:13:10 pm »
If IS stops reaching out on social media, then that's a win.

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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #819 on: January 31, 2015, 10:15:45 pm »
If IS stops reaching out on social media, then that's a win.

But it won't.
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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #820 on: January 31, 2015, 10:55:31 pm »
So they'll close ranks and reach out at the same time? ;)

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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #821 on: January 31, 2015, 11:03:34 pm »
So they'll close ranks and reach out at the same time? ;)

Yes because people who may want to think about joining them will think that anyone telling them not to is the the British government.

Even if it isn't.
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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #822 on: February 16, 2015, 10:45:50 pm »
http://www.scottishreview.net/ManfrediLaManna2a.html

A duty to mock

Manfredi La Manna



The response to the Charlie Hebdo murders by Islamist terrorists has exposed unpalatable truths in both the conservative and progressive camps. The latest cack-handed intervention by the Pope, exempting religions from the list of acceptable targets for criticism and ridicule, while at the same time justifying religion-inspired retaliatory violence, is a powerful reminder that all religions, irrespective of their degree of barbarism and superstition, fear the emotional punch of satire even more than the cold force of logical argument. And for very good reasons.

Even more worryingly, the response from the liberal side has been timid at best and intellectually cowardly at worst (with occasional references to 'free speech fundamentalism'). Only a handful of commentators (Nick Cohen and Jonathan Freedland, for example) have hinted at the elephant in the room – the muted criticism of Islam is due chiefly to fear of violent physical reprisals – without asking why it is there at all. Even the most robust defences of free speech against religious-inspired terrorism speak of freedom of expression as a fundamental human right. None, as far as I can see, have referred to the criticism and the ridicule of religions as a duty of every liberal-minded individual. Before explaining why, a little puzzle may provide some background to my argument.
Consider the following eye-witness account of religion-inspired barbarism (I have redacted some salient words):
'In *** a young man, ***, was condemned and found guilty, together with other youths, of blasphemy and sacrilege. He was accused of causing damage to a ***, of singing anti-religious songs, and of showing disrespect to a religious procession. ***’s room was searched and a number of compromising books were found, including, it was alleged, *** ***. At the ensuing trial it was suggested that this book had exercised a corrupting influence on the young man, who was condemned to have his tongue torn out, to be beheaded (a concession, because he was a ***) and to have his body burned on a pyre along with a copy of the *** ***. This sentence was confirmed by a court in *** and *** was executed on the 1st of July ***, his body burned along with a copy of *** ***.'
Where and when has this act of unspeakable cruelty as state-sanctioned punishment of the mildest expression of religious criticism taken place? Which repressive society burns books and tears tongues out? The above account does not refer to some Islamic theocracy or to some mediaeval Christian outburst of anti-heretical witch-hunting. It refers to a well-known episode in French history, which took place on the 1st of July 1766 in Picardy (with a subsequent trial in Paris). The unredacted text reads:
'In Abbeville in Picardy, a young man, the chevalier de La Barre, was condemned and found guilty, together with other youths, of blasphemy and sacrilege. He was accused of causing damage to a crucifix, of singing anti-religious songs, and of showing disrespect to a religious procession. La Barre's room was searched and a number of compromising books were found, including, it was alleged, [Voltaire's] Pocket Philosophical Dictionary. At the ensuing trial it was suggested that this book had exercised a corrupting influence on the young man, who was condemned to have his tongue torn out, to be beheaded (a concession, because he was a gentleman) and to have his body burned on a pyre along with a copy of the Pocket Philosophical Dictionary. This sentence was confirmed by a court in Paris and was executed on the 1st of July 1766, his body burned along with a copy of Pocket Philosophical Dictionary.'

Notice the date (1766), over 100 years after the foundation of the Royal Society (the oldest scientific society in the world) and four years after the publication of Rousseau's 'The Social Contract' , the place (France), one of the most culturally advanced nations at the time, and the book (Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary), hardly an incendiary indictment of Christianity.
The barbaric execution of chevalier de La Barre shares many features with the brutal murders of the defenceless Charlie Hebdo staff by Islamists, but whereas the 1766 incident spurred intellectuals like Voltaire to redouble their criticisms and ridicule of religion, the 7th of January 2015 massacre has prompted legions of 'liberal' commentators to urge for restraint on the excessive use of free speech and to state that 'we need to cultivate a climate of respect for each other's religions'.

The reason why in France people are no longer persecuted for criticising and mocking religions was not the establishment of a 'climate of respect for religion', but rather the establishment of the secular principle of freedom to criticise, expose, and ridicule religious beliefs. Every single human right advancement in what we call Western civilisation has been fought against religion, not by appeasing it. Like Voltaire, I would defend the right of religious individuals to entertain the most absurd beliefs, from monkey gods to immaculate conceptions, from talking bushes to winged horses ascending to paradise. In return, I expect, indeed I demand, that my right to expose the absurdity of their pathetically irrational beliefs is left unchanged. There is no such thing as free speech fundamentalism, other than in the trivial sense that free speech is a fundamental right.
An interesting asymmetry can be noted here. Why do the religious appeasers vastly outnumber the unblinking critics and mockers of religions? With very few exceptions (the much-missed Christopher Hitchens being one), the secular side of the story is left untold and for a very simple and powerful reason: one of the greatest achievements of Western civilisation has been the decoupling of intellectual and physical courage. Whereas in religion-dominated societies the urge to challenge conventions, established ideas and norms could find expression only if coupled with a large dose of personal physical courage, nowadays the willingness to die for one's ideas and ideals is no longer required from intellectuals (or from anyone else).

As a result, secular liberal societies produce men and women of ideas who are totally unprepared to face the new and real threats to their personal incolumity. Far from being a failure, this should be celebrated as a great achievement. I would have thought it was a duty for political and social commentators to remind us of how this has been achieved and who fought against it, as the answer is desperately relevant to the current debate on free speech. Perhaps another little quiz may displace some unwarranted complacency. Which religious ruler issued over 48,000 fatwas (un-appealable sentences used as instruments of oppression) in his 17-year rule? If you are thinking of some Islamic ayatollah, you are on the wrong track. The religious oppressor is none other than the 'gentlest and mildest' (in Henry Fielding's apposite description) Cardinal Fleury, the de facto prime minister of France from 1726 to 1743. His fatwas, or lettres de cachet, are best described in Henry Fielding's inimitable prose:
'Give me Leave, therefore, to inform you, that the Person of a Frenchman is so far from being protected by their Laws from Imprisonment that they are every Day liable, without any Crime, nay, without any Accusation, to be seized by the Authority of a Lettre de Cachet, and conveyed not only to Prisons, but Dungeons, where their Friends and Relations neither know the Places of their Confinement, nor if they did, would have any Method of obtaining their Discharge, (however innocent) nor even of procuring Access to them. And as they may be sent to these Prisons without any Accusation, so may they be detained there without any Trial, often for many Years, and sometimes to the End of their Lives, however long Nature may be able to struggle with all the Miseries, Wants, and Inclemencies of a noisome Dungeon.' (A Serious Address to the People of Great Britain, 1745 – any resemblance to Guantanamo Bay is purely coincidental.)

France has moved from religion-inspired arbitrary justice and judicial murder to the secular liberal country it is today not thanks to the cultivation of 'a climate of respect for each other's religions' as religious accommodationists would have us believe, but by upholding the principle of laïcité, relegating religions where they belong, to the sphere of personal beliefs, and excluding them from the realm of the political and the legal.
This is why the direct beneficiaries of free speech, first among them journalists, commentators, and 'engaged' intellectuals, should discharge their duty of keeping alive the long tradition of relentless criticism, mordent ridicule, and fearless mockery of religions, because it is precisely thanks to this criticism, ridicule, and mockery that we have freed ourselves from the yoke of theocratic dictatorship.

Dr Manfredi La Manna is a reader in economics at the University of St Andrews
“With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”
― Steven Weinberg

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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #823 on: February 19, 2015, 08:42:19 pm »
AMERICAN AND BRITISH spies hacked into the internal computer network of the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications across the globe, according to top-secret documents provided to The Intercept by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The hack was perpetrated by a joint unit consisting of operatives from the NSA and its British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ. The breach, detailed in a secret 2010 GCHQ document, gave the surveillance agencies the potential to secretly monitor a large portion of the world’s cellular communications, including both voice and data.

The company targeted by the intelligence agencies, Gemalto, is a multinational firm incorporated in the Netherlands that makes the chips used in mobile phones and next-generation credit cards. Among its clients are AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint and some 450 wireless network providers around the world. The company operates in 85 countries and has more than 40 manufacturing facilities. One of its three global headquarters is in Austin, Texas and it has a large factory in Pennsylvania.

In all, Gemalto produces some 2 billion SIM cards a year. Its motto is “Security to be Free.”

With these stolen encryption keys, intelligence agencies can monitor mobile communications without seeking or receiving approval from telecom companies and foreign governments. Possessing the keys also sidesteps the need to get a warrant or a wiretap, while leaving no trace on the wireless provider’s network that the communications were intercepted. Bulk key theft additionally enables the intelligence agencies to unlock any previously encrypted communications they had already intercepted, but did not yet have the ability to decrypt.

As part of the covert operations against Gemalto, spies from GCHQ — with support from the NSA — mined the private communications of unwitting engineers and other company employees in multiple countries.

Gemalto was totally oblivious to the penetration of its systems — and the spying on its employees. “I’m disturbed, quite concerned that this has happened,” Paul Beverly, a Gemalto executive vice president, told The Intercept. “The most important thing for me is to understand exactly how this was done, so we can take every measure to ensure that it doesn’t happen again, and also to make sure that there’s no impact on the telecom operators that we have served in a very trusted manner for many years. What I want to understand is what sort of ramifications it has, or could have, on any of our customers.” He added that “the most important thing for us now is to understand the degree” of the breach.

Leading privacy advocates and security experts say that the theft of encryption keys from major wireless network providers is tantamount to a thief obtaining the master ring of a building superintendent who holds the keys to every apartment. “Once you have the keys, decrypting traffic is trivial,” says Christopher Soghoian, the principal technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union. “The news of this key theft will send a shock wave through the security community.”

    The massive key theft is “bad news for phone security. Really bad news.”

Beverly said that after being contacted by The Intercept, Gemalto’s internal security team began on Wednesday to investigate how their system was penetrated and could find no trace of the hacks. When asked if the NSA or GCHQ had ever requested access to Gemalto-manufactured encryption keys, Beverly said, “I am totally unaware. To the best of my knowledge, no.”

According to one secret GCHQ slide, the British intelligence agency penetrated Gemalto’s internal networks, planting malware on several computers, giving GCHQ secret access. We “believe we have their entire network,” the slide’s author boasted about the operation against Gemalto.

Additionally, the spy agency targeted unnamed cellular companies’ core networks, giving it access to “sales staff machines for customer information and network engineers machines for network maps.” GCHQ also claimed the ability to manipulate the billing servers of cell companies to “suppress” charges in an effort to conceal the spy agency’s secret actions against an individual’s phone. Most significantly, GCHQ also penetrated “authentication servers,” allowing it to decrypt data and voice communications between a targeted individual’s phone and his or her telecom provider’s network. A note accompanying the slide asserted that the spy agency was “very happy with the data so far and [was] working through the vast quantity of product.”

The Mobile Handset Exploitation Team (MHET), whose existence has never before been disclosed, was formed in April 2010 to target vulnerabilities in cellphones. One of its main missions was to covertly penetrate computer networks of corporations that manufacture SIM cards, as well as those of wireless network providers. The team included operatives from both GCHQ and the NSA.

While the FBI and other U.S. agencies can obtain court orders compelling U.S.-based telecom companies to allow them to wiretap or intercept the communications of their customers, on the international front this type of data collection is much more challenging. Unless a foreign telecom or foreign government grants access to their citizens’ data to a U.S. intelligence agency, the NSA or CIA would have to hack into the network or specifically target the user’s device for a more risky “active” form of surveillance that could be detected by sophisticated targets. Moreover, foreign intelligence agencies would not allow U.S. or U.K. spy agencies access to the mobile communications of their heads of state or other government officials.

“It’s unbelievable. Unbelievable,” said Gerard Schouw, a member of the Dutch Parliament, when told of the spy agencies’ actions. Schouw, the intelligence spokesperson for D66, the largest opposition party in the Netherlands, told The Intercept, “We don’t want to have the secret services from other countries doing things like this.” Schouw added that he and other lawmakers will ask the Dutch government to provide an official explanation and to clarify whether the country’s intelligence services were aware of the targeting of Gemalto, whose official headquarters is in Amsterdam.

Last November, the Dutch government amended its constitution to include explicit protection for the privacy of digital communications, including those made on mobile devices. “We have, in the Netherlands, a law on the [activities] of secret services. And hacking is not allowed,” Schouw said. Under Dutch law, the interior minister would have to sign off on such operations by foreign governments’ intelligence agencies. “I don’t believe that he has given his permission for these kind of actions.”

The U.S. and British intelligence agencies pulled off the encryption key heist in great stealth, giving them the ability to intercept and decrypt communications without alerting the wireless network provider, the foreign government or the individual user that they have been targeted. “Gaining access to a database of keys is pretty much game over for cellular encryption,” says Matthew Green, a cryptography specialist at the Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute. The massive key theft is “bad news for phone security. Really bad news.”

AS CONSUMERS BEGAN to adopt cellular phones en masse in the mid-1990s, there were no effective privacy protections in place. Anyone could buy a cheap device from RadioShack capable of intercepting calls placed on mobile phones. The shift from analog to digital networks introduced basic encryption technology, though it was still crackable by tech savvy computer science graduate students, as well as the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, using readily available equipment.

Today, second-generation (2G) phone technology, which relies on a deeply flawed encryption system, remains the dominant platform globally, though U.S. and European cellphone companies now use 3G, 4G and LTE technology in urban areas. These include more secure, though not invincible, methods of encryption, and wireless carriers throughout the world are upgrading their networks to use these newer technologies.

It is in the context of such growing technical challenges to data collection that intelligence agencies, such as the NSA, have become interested in acquiring cellular encryption keys. “With old-fashioned [2G], there are other ways to work around cellphone security without those keys,” says Green, the Johns Hopkins cryptographer. “With newer 3G, 4G and LTE protocols, however, the algorithms aren’t as vulnerable, so getting those keys would be essential.”

The privacy of all mobile communications — voice calls, text messages and Internet access — depends on an encrypted connection between the cellphone and the wireless carrier’s network, using keys stored on the SIM, a tiny chip smaller than a postage stamp which is inserted into the phone. All mobile communications on the phone depend on the SIM, which stores and guards the encryption keys created by companies like Gemalto. SIM cards can be used to store contacts, text messages, and other important data, like one’s phone number. In some countries, SIM cards are used to transfer money. As The Intercept reported last year, having the wrong SIM card can make you the target of a drone strike.

SIM cards were not invented to protect individual communications — they were designed to do something much simpler: ensure proper billing and prevent fraud, which was pervasive in the early days of cellphones. Soghoian compares the use of encryption keys on SIM cards to the way Social Security numbers are used today. “Social security numbers were designed in the 1930s to track your contributions to your government pension,” he says. “Today they are used as a quasi national identity number, which was never their intended purpose.”

Because the SIM card wasn’t created with call confidentiality in mind, the manufacturers and wireless carriers don’t make a great effort to secure their supply chain. As a result, the SIM card is an extremely vulnerable component of a mobile phone. “I doubt anyone is treating those things very carefully,” says Green. “Cell companies probably don’t treat them as essential security tokens. They probably just care that nobody is defrauding their networks.” The ACLU’s Soghoian adds, “These keys are so valuable that it makes sense for intel agencies to go after them.”

As a general rule, phone companies do not manufacture SIM cards, nor program them with secret encryption keys. It is cheaper and more efficient for them to outsource this sensitive step in the SIM card production process. They purchase them in bulk with the keys pre-loaded by other corporations. Gemalto is the largest of these SIM “personalization” companies.

After a SIM card is manufactured, the encryption key, known as a “Ki,” is burned directly onto the chip. A copy of the key is also given to the cellular provider, allowing its network to recognize an individual’s phone. In order for the phone to be able to connect to the wireless carriers’ network, the phone — with the help of the SIM — authenticates itself using the Ki that has been programmed onto the SIM. The phone conducts a secret “handshake” that validates that the Ki on the SIM matches the Ki held by the mobile company. Once that happens, the communications between the phone and the network are encrypted. Even if GCHQ or the NSA were to intercept the phone signals as they are transmitted through the air, the intercepted data would be a garbled mess. Decrypting it can be challenging and time-consuming. Stealing the keys, on the other hand, is beautifully simple, from the intelligence agencies’ point of view, as the pipeline for producing and distributing SIM cards was never designed to thwart mass surveillance efforts.

One of the creators of the encryption protocol that is widely used today for securing emails, Adi Shamir, famously asserted: “Cryptography is typically bypassed, not penetrated.” In other words, it is much easier (and sneakier) to open a locked door when you have the key than it is to break down the door using brute force. While the NSA and GCHQ have substantial resources dedicated to breaking encryption, it is not the only way — and certainly not always the most efficient — to get at the data they want. “NSA has more mathematicians on its payroll than any other entity in the U.S.,” says the ACLU’s Soghoian. “But the NSA’s hackers are way busier than its mathematicians.”

GCHQ and the NSA could have taken any number of routes to steal SIM encryption keys and other data. They could have physically broken into a manufacturing plant. They could have broken into a wireless carrier’s office. They could have bribed, blackmailed or coerced an employee of the manufacturer or cellphone provider. But all of that comes with substantial risk of exposure. In the case of Gemalto, hackers working for GCHQ remotely penetrated the company’s computer network in order to steal the keys in bulk as they were en route to the wireless network providers.

SIM card “personalization” companies like Gemalto ship hundreds of thousands of SIM cards at a time to mobile phone operators across the world. International shipping records obtained by The Intercept show that in 2011, Gemalto shipped 450,000 smart cards from its plant in Mexico to Germany’s Deutsche Telekom in just one shipment.

In order for the cards to work and for the phones’ communications to be secure, Gemalto also needs to provide the mobile company with a file containing the encryption keys for each of the new SIM cards. These master key files could be shipped via FedEx, DHL, UPS or another snail mail provider. More commonly, they could be sent via email or through File Transfer Protocol, FTP, a method of sending files over the Internet.

The moment the master key set is generated by Gemalto or another personalization company, but before it is sent to the wireless carrier, is the most vulnerable moment for interception. “The value of getting them at the point of manufacture is you can presumably get a lot of keys in one go, since SIM chips get made in big batches,” says Green, the cryptographer. “SIM cards get made for lots of different carriers in one facility.” In Gemalto’s case, GCHQ hit the jackpot, as the company manufactures SIMs for hundreds of wireless network providers, including all of the leading U.S. — and many of the largest European — companies.

But obtaining the encryption keys while Gemalto still held them required finding a way into the company’s internal systems.

TOP-SECRET GCHQ documents reveal that the intelligence agencies accessed the email and Facebook accounts of engineers and other employees of major telecom corporations and SIM card manufacturers in an effort to secretly obtain information that could give them access to millions of encryption keys. They did this by utilizing the NSA’s X-KEYSCORE program, which allowed them access to private emails hosted by the SIM card and mobile companies’ servers, as well as those of major tech corporations, including Yahoo! and Google.

In effect, GCHQ clandestinely cyberstalked Gemalto employees, scouring their emails in an effort to find people who may have had access to the company’s core networks and Ki-generating systems. The intelligence agency’s goal was to find information that would aid in breaching Gemalto’s systems, making it possible to steal large quantities of encryption keys. The agency hoped to intercept the files containing the keys as they were transmitted between Gemalto and its wireless network provider customers.

GCHQ operatives identified key individuals and their positions within Gemalto and then dug into their emails. In one instance, GCHQ zeroed in on a Gemalto employee in Thailand who they observed sending PGP-encrypted files, noting that if GCHQ wanted to expand its Gemalto operations, “he would certainly be a good place to start.” They did not claim to have decrypted the employee’s communications, but noted that the use of PGP could mean the contents were potentially valuable.

The cyberstalking was not limited to Gemalto. GCHQ operatives wrote a script that allowed the agency to mine the private communications of employees of major telecommunications and SIM “personalization” companies for technical terms used in the assigning of secret keys to mobile phone customers. Employees for the SIM card manufacturers and wireless network providers were labeled as “known individuals and operators targeted” in a top-secret GCHQ document.

According to that April 2010 document, “PCS Harvesting at Scale,” hackers working for GCHQ focused on “harvesting” massive amounts of individual encryption keys “in transit between mobile network operators and SIM card personalisation centres” like Gemalto. The spies “developed a methodology for intercepting these keys as they are transferred between various network operators and SIM card providers.” By that time, GCHQ had developed “an automated technique with the aim of increasing the volume of keys that can be harvested.”

The PCS Harvesting document acknowledged that, in searching for information on encryption keys, GCHQ operatives would undoubtedly vacuum up “a large number of unrelated items” from the private communications of targeted employees. “[H]owever an analyst with good knowledge of the operators involved can perform this trawl regularly and spot the transfer of large batches of [keys].”

The document noted that many SIM card manufacturers transferred the encryption keys to wireless network providers “by email or FTP with simple encryption methods that can be broken … or occasionally with no encryption at all.” To get bulk access to encryption keys, all the NSA or GCHQ needed to do was intercept emails or file transfers as they were sent over the Internet — something both agencies already do millions of times per day. A footnote in the 2010 document observed that the use of “strong encryption products … is becoming increasingly common” in transferring the keys.

In its key harvesting “trial” operations in the first quarter of 2010, GCHQ successfully intercepted keys used by wireless network providers in Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen, India, Serbia, Iceland and Tajikistan. But, the agency noted, its automated key harvesting system failed to produce results against Pakistani networks, denoted as “priority targets” in the document, despite the fact that GCHQ had a store of Kis from two providers in the country, Mobilink and Telenor. “t is possible that these networks now use more secure methods to transfer Kis,” the document concluded.

From December 2009 through March 2010, a month before the Mobile Handset Exploitation Team was formed, GCHQ conducted a number of trials aimed at extracting encryption keys and other personalized data for individual phones. In one two-week period, they accessed the emails of 130 people associated with wireless network providers or SIM card manufacturing and personalization. This operation produced nearly 8,000 keys matched to specific phones in 10 countries. In another two-week period, by mining just 6 email addresses, they produced 85,000 keys. At one point in March 2010, GCHQ intercepted nearly 100,000 keys for mobile phone users in Somalia. By June, they’d compiled 300,000. “Somali providers are not on GCHQ’s list of interest,” the document noted. “[H]owever, this was usefully shared with NSA.”

The GCHQ documents only contain statistics for three months of encryption key theft in 2010. During this period, millions of keys were harvested. The documents stated explicitly that GCHQ had already created a constantly evolving automated process for bulk harvesting of keys. They describe active operations targeting Gemalto’s personalization centers across the globe, as well as other major SIM card manufacturers and the private communications of their employees.

A top-secret NSA document asserted that, as of 2009, the U.S. spy agency already had the capacity to process between 12 and 22 million keys per second for later use against surveillance targets. In the future, the agency predicted, it would be capable of processing more than 50 million per second. The document did not state how many keys were actually processed, just that the NSA had the technology to perform such swift, bulk operations. It is impossible to know how many keys have been stolen by the NSA and GCHQ to date, but, even using conservative math, the numbers are likely staggering.

GCHQ assigned “scores” to more than 150 individual email addresses based on how often the users mentioned certain technical terms, and then intensified the mining of those individuals’ accounts based on priority. The highest scoring email address was that of an employee of Chinese tech giant Huawei, which the U.S. has repeatedly accused of collaborating with Chinese intelligence. In all, GCHQ harvested the emails of employees of hardware companies that manufacture phones, such as Ericsson and Nokia; operators of mobile networks, such as MTN Irancell and Belgacom; SIM card providers, such as Bluefish and Gemalto; and employees of targeted companies who used email providers such as Yahoo! and Google. During the three-month trial, the largest number of email addresses harvested were those belonging to Huawei employees, followed by MTN Irancell. The third largest class of emails harvested in the trial were private Gmail accounts, presumably belonging to employees at targeted companies.

The GCHQ program targeting Gemalto was called DAPINO GAMMA. In 2011, GCHQ launched operation HIGHLAND FLING to mine the email accounts of Gemalto employees in France and Poland. A top-secret document on the operation stated that one of the aims was “getting into French HQ” of Gemalto “to get in to core data repositories.” France, home to one of Gemalto’s global headquarters, is the nerve center of the company’s worldwide operations. Another goal was to intercept private communications of employees in Poland that “could lead to penetration into one or more personalisation centers” — the factories where the encryption keys are burned onto SIM cards.

As part of these operations, GCHQ operatives acquired the usernames and passwords for Facebook accounts of Gemalto targets. An internal top-secret GCHQ wiki on the program from May 2011 indicated that GCHQ was in the process of “targeting” more than a dozen Gemalto facilities across the globe, including in Germany, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Italy, Russia, Sweden, Spain, Japan and Singapore.

The document also stated that GCHQ was preparing similar key theft operations against one of Gemalto’s competitors, Germany-based SIM card giant Giesecke and Devrient.

On January 17, 2014, President Barack Obama gave a major address on the NSA spying scandal. “The bottom line is that people around the world, regardless of their nationality, should know that the United States is not spying on ordinary people who don’t threaten our national security and that we take their privacy concerns into account in our policies and procedures,” he said.

The monitoring of the lawful communications of employees of major international corporations shows that such statements by Obama, other U.S. officials and British leaders — that they only intercept and monitor the communications of known or suspected criminals or terrorists — were untrue. “The NSA and GCHQ view the private communications of people who work for these companies as fair game,” says the ACLU’s Soghoian. “These people were specifically hunted and targeted by intelligence agencies, not because they did anything wrong, but because they could be used as a means to an end.”

THERE ARE TWO basic types of electronic or digital surveillance: passive and active. All intelligence agencies engage in extensive passive surveillance, which means they collect bulk data by intercepting communications sent over fiber optic cables, radio waves or wireless devices.

Intelligence agencies place high power antennas, known as “spy nests,” on the top of their countries’ embassies and consulates, which are capable of vacuuming up data sent to or from mobile phones in the surrounding area. The joint NSA/CIA Special Collection Service is the lead entity that installs and mans these nests for the United States. An embassy situated near a parliament or government agency could easily intercept the phone calls and data transfers of the mobile phones used by foreign government officials. The U.S. embassy in Berlin, for instance, is located a stone’s throw from the Bundestag. But if the wireless carriers are using stronger encryption, which is built into modern 3G, 4G and LTE networks, then intercepted calls and other data would be more difficult to crack, particularly in bulk. If the intelligence agency wants to actually listen to or read what is being transmitted, they would need to decrypt the encrypted data.

Active surveillance is another option. This would require government agencies to “jam” a 3G or 4G network, forcing nearby phones onto 2G. Once forced down to the less secure 2G technology, the phone can be tricked into connecting to a fake cell tower operated by an intelligence agency. This method of surveillance, though effective, is risky, as it leaves a digital trace that counter-surveillance experts from foreign governments could detect.

Stealing the Kis solves all of these problems. This way, intelligence agencies can safely engage in passive, bulk surveillance without having to decrypt data and without leaving any trace whatsoever.

“Key theft enables the bulk, low-risk surveillance of encrypted communications,” the ACLU’s Soghoian says. “Agencies can collect all the communications and then look through them later. With the keys, they can decrypt whatever they want, whenever they want. It’s like a time machine, enabling the surveillance of communications that occurred before someone was even a target.”

Neither the NSA nor GCHQ would comment specifically on the key theft operations. In the past, they have argued more broadly that breaking encryption is a necessary part of tracking terrorists and other criminals. “It is longstanding policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters,” a GCHQ official stated in an email, adding that the agency’s work is conducted within a “strict legal and policy framework” that ensures its activities are “authorized, necessary and proportionate,” with proper oversight, which is the standard response the agency has provided for previous stories published by The Intercept. The agency also said, “[T]he UK’s interception regime is entirely compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.” The NSA declined to offer any comment.

It is unlikely that GCHQ’s pronouncement about the legality of its operations will be universally embraced in Europe. “It is governments massively engaging in illegal activities,” says Sophie in’t Veld, a Dutch member of the European Parliament. “If you are not a government and you are a student doing this, you will end up in jail for 30 years.” Veld, who chaired the European Parliament’s recent inquiry into mass surveillance exposed by Snowden, told The Intercept: “The secret services are just behaving like cowboys. Governments are behaving like cowboys and nobody is holding them to account.”

The Intercept’s Laura Poitras has previously reported that in 2013 Australia’s signals intelligence agency, a close partner of the NSA, stole some 1.8 million encryption keys from an Indonesian wireless carrier.

A few years ago, the FBI reportedly dismantled several of transmitters set up by foreign intelligence agencies around the Washington DC area, which could be used to intercept cellphone communications. Russia, China, Israel and other nations use similar technology as the NSA across the world. If those governments had the encryption keys for major U.S. cellphone companies’ customers, such as those manufactured by Gemalto, mass snooping would be simple. “It would mean that with a few antennas placed around Washington DC, the Chinese or Russian governments could sweep up and decrypt the communications of members of Congress, U.S. agency heads, reporters, lobbyists and everyone else involved in the policymaking process and decrypt their telephone conversations,” says Soghoian.

“Put a device in front of the UN, record every bit you see going over the air. Steal some keys, you have all those conversations,” says Green, the Johns Hopkins cryptographer. And it’s not just spy agencies that would benefit from stealing encryption keys. “I can only imagine how much money you could make if you had access to the calls made around Wall Street,” he adds.

GCHQ slide.

THE BREACH OF Gemalto’s computer network by GCHQ has far-reaching global implications. The company, which brought in $2.7 billion in revenue in 2013, is a global leader in digital security, producing banking cards, mobile payment systems, two-factor authentication devices used for online security, hardware tokens used for securing buildings and offices, electronic passports and identification cards. It provides chips to Vodafone in Europe and France’s Orange, as well as EE, a joint venture in the U.K. between France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom. Royal KPN, the largest Dutch wireless network provider, also uses Gemalto technology.

In Asia, Gemalto’s chips are used by China Unicom, Japan’s NTT and Taiwan’s Chungwa Telecom, as well as scores of wireless network providers throughout Africa and the Middle East. The company’s security technology is used by more than 3,000 financial institutions and 80 government organizations. Among its clients are Visa, Mastercard, American Express, JP Morgan Chase and Barclays. It also provides chips for use in luxury cars, including those made by Audi and BMW.

In 2012, Gemalto won a sizable contract, worth $175 million, from the U.S. government to produce the covers for electronic U.S. passports, which contain chips and antennas that can be used to better authenticate travelers. As part of its contract, Gemalto provides the personalization and software for the microchips implanted in the passports. The U.S. represents Gemalto’s single largest market, accounting for some 15 percent of its total business. This raises the question of whether GCHQ, which was able to bypass encryption on mobile networks, has the ability to access private data protected by other Gemalto products created for banks and governments.

As smart phones become smarter, they are increasingly replacing credit cards and cash as a means of paying for goods and services. When Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile formed an alliance in 2010 to jointly build an electronic pay system to challenge Google Wallet and Apple Pay, they purchased Gemalto’s technology for their program, known as Softcard. (Until July 2014, it previously went by the unfortunate name of “ISIS Mobile Wallet.”) Whether data relating to that, and other Gemalto security products, has been compromised by the GCHQ and NSA is unclear. Both intelligence agencies declined to answer any specific questions for this story.

Signal, iMessage, WhatsApp, Silent Phone.

PRIVACY ADVOCATES and security experts say it would take billions of dollars, significant political pressure, and several years to fix the fundamental security flaws in the current mobile phone system that NSA, GCHQ and other intelligence agencies regularly exploit.

A current gaping hole in the protection of mobile communications is that cellphones and wireless network providers do not support the use of Perfect Forward Security (PFS), a form of encryption designed to limit the damage caused by theft or disclosure of encryption keys. PFS, which is now built into modern web browsers and used by sites like Google and Twitter, works by generating unique encryption keys for each communication or message, which are then discarded. Rather than using the same encryption key to protect years’ worth of data, as the permanent Kis on SIM cards can, a new key might be generated each minute, hour or day, and then promptly destroyed. Because cellphone communications do not utilize PFS, if an intelligence agency has been “passively” intercepting someone’s communications for a year and later acquires the permanent encryption key, it can go back and decrypt all of those communications. If mobile phone networks were using PFS, that would not be possible — even if the permanent keys were later stolen.

The only effective way for individuals to protect themselves from Ki theft-enabled surveillance is to use secure communications software, rather than relying on SIM card-based security. Secure software includes email and other apps that use Transport Layer Security (TLS), the mechanism underlying the secure HTTPS web protocol. The email clients included with Android phones and iPhones support TLS, as do large email providers like Yahoo! and Google.

Apps like TextSecure and Silent Text are secure alternatives to SMS messages, while Signal, RedPhone and Silent Phone encrypt voice communications. Governments still may be able to intercept communications, but reading or listening to them would require hacking a specific handset, obtaining internal data from an email provider, or installing a bug in a room to record the conversations.

“We need to stop assuming that the phone companies will provide us with a secure method of making calls or exchanging text messages,” says Soghoian.

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/02/19/great-sim-heist/
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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #824 on: February 21, 2015, 03:51:54 pm »
"I was asked to speak on a panel about offence and free speech post Charlie Hebdo. I always quite like the idea of speaking at some serious discussion, but in practice I just make everybody uncomfortable and they all smile at me uneasily in the way a posh cafe owner does when builders come in to buy rolls.  And yet current attitudes in Britain to offence and free speech certainly mean that I've  got a lot of fucking time on my hands, so I thought I'd take a break from building matchstick cathedrals and learning the harpsichord to share my thoughts.

I find it incredibly worrying that we no longer need to hear the actual content of the thing we're told to be offended by. We hear of people being arrested for tweets without the tweet being reported; comics are blasted for routines that aren't printed; newspapers hire lip-readers to find something to get offended by at the tennis and then print the resulting fuckfest as asterisks. And who decides whether we should be outraged at something we haven't seen or heard? The press. Our seething collective Id. None of us would trust a journalist to hold our pint while we went to the bathroom, yet we allow them to be ethical arbiters for the entire culture..."

More here:

http://www.frankieboyle.com/frankie/free-speech.html

The above, by Frankie Boyle, is really good, I think. And funny too. I'm interested in the idea that satire should "punch up" and not down. This is something Charlie Hebdo had/has been accused of: punching down, upon
all muslims because of the acts of a minority of islamist terrorists. Islamic terrorists have a certain power and deserved to be mocked, so fair game. Yet there seems to an idea that by mocking the dogmatic, the violent and the downright psychopathic, then the satirists are mocking all muslims, and by extension, the powerless. I think, in the subsequent weeks since the horrific murders, this distinction - between the powerful and the powerless - has become ever more ambiguous. No doubt some want to use the ridicule and caricatures of all muslims for their own, racist agendas/politics. Yet, where do we draw the line? Should we not mock the new King of Saudi Arabia because he is a muslim? Should we not take the piss out of The Sultan of Brunei because he's a muslim too? But we also live in a country were there is open hostility and prejudice towards muslims, many of whom have little or no power.

How, in the end, do we define what is punching up and what is punching down?

Also, after the Hebdo murders, Will Self argued that satire should be used along the same lines as HL Mencken's ideas of good journalism, that it should 'afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted'. Think this fits in with Boyle's ideas around punching up/punching down. However, when ever I've seen Boyle live - the last time, a number of years ago - I was always left with the feeling that he did some punching up and a lot of punching down. That's not to say I didn't find him funny when both punching up and down. Good comedy shouldn't make us feel comfort and a part of laughter comes from the feeling of discomfort it engenders. A good comedian, in my opinion, makes us laugh nervously too.

Anyway, I think his piece above is a useful addition to the current debate around freedom of speech, although it doesn't deal specifically with Hebdo, it is an interesting article and raises some interesting points.
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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #825 on: February 24, 2015, 08:15:26 am »
Don't know where to put this but it's absolutely brilliant. A discussion on the anti-semitism in Europe which is sort of intertwined here with questions of freedom of speech.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=465Wt-eX2RY&app=desktop
Quote from: Dion Fanning

The chants for Kenny Dalglish that were heard again on Wednesday do not necessarily mean that the fans see him as the saviour. This is not Newcastle, longing for the return of Kevin Keegan. Simply, Dalglish represents everything Hodgson is not and, in fairness, everything Hodgson could or would not hope to be.

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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #826 on: February 24, 2015, 01:11:43 pm »
Don't know where to put this but it's absolutely brilliant. A discussion on the anti-semitism in Europe which is sort of intertwined here with questions of freedom of speech.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=465Wt-eX2RY&app=desktop

Excellent discussion, thanks for posting.  Maajid Nawaz doesn't half talk some sense every time I hear him speak.
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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #827 on: February 24, 2015, 01:24:54 pm »
Excellent discussion, thanks for posting.  Maajid Nawaz doesn't half talk some sense every time I hear him speak.

He's superb.

And I had no idea until he played the recording that the Copenhagen assassin's gun started firing just when that speaker started to lampoon the 'But' apologists (as in "I'm against terrorism, but.....")
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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #828 on: February 24, 2015, 02:57:35 pm »
He's superb.

And I had no idea until he played the recording that the Copenhagen assassin's gun started firing just when that speaker started to lampoon the 'But' apologists (as in "I'm against terrorism, but.....")
No idea here either and that clip did shock me. Nawaz is still a muslim by his admission but interestingly he is one of the few that I've heard openly saying that they need real reform and reformers rather than 'moderates' like *cough* Mehdi Hasan.
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The chants for Kenny Dalglish that were heard again on Wednesday do not necessarily mean that the fans see him as the saviour. This is not Newcastle, longing for the return of Kevin Keegan. Simply, Dalglish represents everything Hodgson is not and, in fairness, everything Hodgson could or would not hope to be.

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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #829 on: February 24, 2015, 05:17:05 pm »
I've lived in countries that allow a very open environment for debate and protests, I also see countries that limit, through law public protests on issues such as race and religion.

The first is the structure you should work towards if you wish to have the best level of transparency, to keep the government in check.

 

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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #830 on: March 1, 2015, 06:56:38 pm »
So glad I live in a country which supplies this dictatorship with so many arms:


Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, sentenced to 1,000 lashes over accusations he insulted Islam, could now be facing the death penalty, Channel 4 News learns.


Raif Badawi, 31, was expected to serve a 10-year jail sentence, and a fine of £175,000 for offences related to his setting up of an online forum for public debate, as well as accusations he insulted Islam.

On 9 January, the Saudi writer was lashed 50 times as the first part of his sentence to be flogged 1,000 lashes over a course of 20 weeks. However, subsequent floggings were postponed due to injuries that he sustained.

Mr Badawi's wife, Ensaf Haider, has told Channel 4 News that judges in Saudi Arabia's criminal courts are wanting him to undergo a re-trial for apostasy. If found guilty, he would face the death penalty.

http://www.channel4.com/news/raif-badawi-blogger-flogging-saudi-arabia-death-penalty
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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #831 on: March 4, 2015, 11:11:20 am »
They don't use guns, but their aim is the same. Oppose Islamism in all of it's forms.


http://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2015/03/be-careful-with-mohammed--muslim-action-forum-launches-legal-strategy-to-stop-publication-of-insults-to-mohammed

“Be Careful With Mohammed”: Muslim Action Forum launches “legal strategy” to stop publication of insults to Mohammed


The Muslim Action Forum (MAF), which staged a protest outside Downing Street against Charlie Hebdo in February, has launched a "legal strategy" to stop insults against Mohammed.

The organisation is also asking supporters to "lobby your MP" to make "Islamophobia" a criminal offence.

They state that they intend "to launch a series of legal challenges in the English Court system" because "depictions of our Holy Prophet peace be upon Him is the worst kind of 'Hate Crime' that can be perpetrated on the 3 million Muslims in the UK and 1.7 billion Muslims worldwide."

The group says that they have "devised a legal strategy to prevent the continuous insulting and derogatory publications depicting and abusing the personality of our Holy Prophet Muhammad peace be upon Him."

In a press release published shortly after the demonstration in February 2015, the MAF set out details of their plan to outlaw depicting Mohammed in the UK, through "amendment of some existing legislation and the presentation of a Private Members Bill that promotes the idea of Global Civility."

They describe "Global Civility" as a "new direction" and argue that the "desecration" of "collective human dignity", through "insult, denigration or humiliation is morally and ethically wrong". Their website rails against "reckless and malicious expressions".

They urge the 100,000 Muslims who they claim signed their petition to lobby their MPs and all candidates standing in the General Election. The MAF makes a number of suggestions including three specific questions which they ask supporters to direct to their MPs.

The MAF suggests that petitioners ask their MPs if they think the "the Public Order Act 1986 should be amended to include under 'hate crime' any malicious depiction of images and use of malevolent language against revered personalities of all religions?"

They also suggest asking if "Islamophobia should be a culpable offence?"

The suggestions include a point inquiring if MPs would support a "Bill of Rights" that promotes "Global Civility", a concept which would prevent insulting religion.

The appeal says that if the MP answers no to any of the points above, their answer "will clarify to the local Muslim community where their political representatives stand on the single most important issue to every Muslim in this country and worldwide."

Stephen Evans, National Secular Society campaigns manager, commented: "We trust all prospective MPs will appreciate that there is no homogeneous 'Muslim community' and reject such unreasonable demands to undermine everybody's fundamental rights and freedoms. Free speech is the bedrock of liberty and a free society – and integral to combating the spectre of Islamism. Now more than ever we need to preserve and strengthen freedom of expression, not capitulate to extremist demands."

The Muslim Action Forum (MAF) explain that their campaign against satirical depictions of Mohammed, and what they call "uncivilised expressionists", took its "first historical step by presenting a petition supported by over 100,000 signatures of Muslims promoting the concept of Global Civility and condemning the continuous publication of these insulting cartoons in France and other parts of the world."

The MAF website has a section devoted to the concept of "uncivilised expressionists", and they cite examples including the Satanic Verses, Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and the burning of the Quran. They define uncivilised expressions as a "a psychological disposition of the human mind which insults and maligns others without care or consideration of consequences." They call this "behaviour against Muslims".

The full press release on the Muslim Action Forum's legal strategy can be found here.

http://www.muslimactionforum.com/Press_Release_8thFeb.pdf
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Offline Ken-Obi

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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #832 on: March 4, 2015, 11:30:06 am »
Quid-pro-quo: we can talk if you take direct action against ISIS (and their ilk) while proactively stop the propagation of extremists ideology that violates basic human rights.

Deal?
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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #833 on: March 4, 2015, 11:37:27 am »
Quid-pro-quo: we can talk if you take direct action against ISIS (and their ilk) while proactively stop the propagation of extremists ideology that violates basic human rights.

Deal?

No deal for me. If these people want to live in Britain they're going to have to put up with a bit of joshing about their religion every now and then. Everyone else does.

Also, look at the self-pitying nature of that petition. It's in the name of "1.7 billion Muslims worldwide" and yet speaks as if they are a poor defenceless minority. It also talks of "continuous publication of these insulting cartoons". If only! The fact is that people are already petrified about "insulting" their prophet and the Charlie Hebdo cartoon was an exception not the rule. As for burning the Koran. Who does that? I see British Muslims burning Salman Rushdie's book and I see some of the 1.7 billion Muslims worldwide burning Bibles and Churches every time they get a little bit upset.

I'd tell 'em to Eff Off. 
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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #834 on: March 4, 2015, 11:40:38 am »
I'm gonna start a petition for a new Suck It Up, Princess bill. Who's with me?

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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #835 on: March 4, 2015, 11:55:14 am »
Best get it in here before I get jailed. The stupid fucking c*nts. Depicting Mohammed is a hate crime? But what if it's satirising the satirical depictionss of Mohammed?

Global civility? What with the killing and beheading of innocent infidels, that concept really is as satirical as it gets. Are these having a laugh? I said, are these having a laugh?

lets hope the soft twats get the answers they want from the Liberal Democrats and vote for them. We all know how well that shower of shithouses keep to their manifestos and promises.




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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #836 on: March 4, 2015, 12:06:11 pm »
They don't use guns, but their aim is the same. Oppose Islamism in all of it's forms.


http://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2015/03/be-careful-with-mohammed--muslim-action-forum-launches-legal-strategy-to-stop-publication-of-insults-to-mohammed

“Be Careful With Mohammed”: Muslim Action Forum launches “legal strategy” to stop publication of insults to Mohammed


The Muslim Action Forum (MAF), which staged a protest outside Downing Street against Charlie Hebdo in February, has launched a "legal strategy" to stop insults against Mohammed.

The organisation is also asking supporters to "lobby your MP" to make "Islamophobia" a criminal offence.

They state that they intend "to launch a series of legal challenges in the English Court system" because "depictions of our Holy Prophet peace be upon Him is the worst kind of 'Hate Crime' that can be perpetrated on the 3 million Muslims in the UK and 1.7 billion Muslims worldwide."

The group says that they have "devised a legal strategy to prevent the continuous insulting and derogatory publications depicting and abusing the personality of our Holy Prophet Muhammad peace be upon Him."

In a press release published shortly after the demonstration in February 2015, the MAF set out details of their plan to outlaw depicting Mohammed in the UK, through "amendment of some existing legislation and the presentation of a Private Members Bill that promotes the idea of Global Civility."

They describe "Global Civility" as a "new direction" and argue that the "desecration" of "collective human dignity", through "insult, denigration or humiliation is morally and ethically wrong". Their website rails against "reckless and malicious expressions".

They urge the 100,000 Muslims who they claim signed their petition to lobby their MPs and all candidates standing in the General Election. The MAF makes a number of suggestions including three specific questions which they ask supporters to direct to their MPs.

The MAF suggests that petitioners ask their MPs if they think the "the Public Order Act 1986 should be amended to include under 'hate crime' any malicious depiction of images and use of malevolent language against revered personalities of all religions?"

They also suggest asking if "Islamophobia should be a culpable offence?"

The suggestions include a point inquiring if MPs would support a "Bill of Rights" that promotes "Global Civility", a concept which would prevent insulting religion.

The appeal says that if the MP answers no to any of the points above, their answer "will clarify to the local Muslim community where their political representatives stand on the single most important issue to every Muslim in this country and worldwide."

Stephen Evans, National Secular Society campaigns manager, commented: "We trust all prospective MPs will appreciate that there is no homogeneous 'Muslim community' and reject such unreasonable demands to undermine everybody's fundamental rights and freedoms. Free speech is the bedrock of liberty and a free society – and integral to combating the spectre of Islamism. Now more than ever we need to preserve and strengthen freedom of expression, not capitulate to extremist demands."

The Muslim Action Forum (MAF) explain that their campaign against satirical depictions of Mohammed, and what they call "uncivilised expressionists", took its "first historical step by presenting a petition supported by over 100,000 signatures of Muslims promoting the concept of Global Civility and condemning the continuous publication of these insulting cartoons in France and other parts of the world."

The MAF website has a section devoted to the concept of "uncivilised expressionists", and they cite examples including the Satanic Verses, Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and the burning of the Quran. They define uncivilised expressions as a "a psychological disposition of the human mind which insults and maligns others without care or consideration of consequences." They call this "behaviour against Muslims".

The full press release on the Muslim Action Forum's legal strategy can be found here.

http://www.muslimactionforum.com/Press_Release_8thFeb.pdf

Fuck them.

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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #837 on: March 4, 2015, 12:08:50 pm »
I'm gonna start a petition for a new Suck It Up, Princess bill. Who's with me?
Ha ha. The Muslim Action Forum can make some definitive statements on equal rights for women, homosexuals and the right to leave your religion if you choose before they start to lecture the rest of us about "Global Civility".
Quote
They state that they intend "to launch a series of legal challenges in the English Court system" because "depictions of our Holy Prophet peace be upon Him is the worst kind of 'Hate Crime' that can be perpetrated on the 3 million Muslims in the UK and 1.7 billion Muslims worldwide."
Fucking hell. When the English Legal system don't agree, they'll be accused of being Islamophobic.

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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #838 on: March 4, 2015, 12:11:43 pm »
Fuck them.
Careful now, a woman with an opinion is probably another "Hate Crime".

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Re: Freedom of speech
« Reply #839 on: March 4, 2015, 12:16:12 pm »
Careful now, a woman with an opinion is probably another "Hate Crime".

Well, it has been made clear to me on occasions of brazen hate crime such as walking to the bus stop that I am in fact a "white prostitute", so you're probably right.