25 Jan 2013

Privacy advocates, journalists, others ask Microsoft about privacy and security of Skype in open letter

By Madison Ruppert: In a new open letter penned by a massive coalition of groups ranging from privacy advocates like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to journalism groups like Reporters Without Borders and more, Microsoft is asked about the security and privacy of Skype.
Interestingly, the United Nations called for worldwide internet surveillance last year, specifically mentioning Voice over IP (VoIP) services like Skype.
The EFF is well known for crusading against illegal surveillance, exposing how drones are already used in the United States and in general fighting illegal government surveillance by filing lawsuits and exposing everything from rapidly growing warrantless surveillance to the U.S. military using drones in the United States and sharing data with law enforcement.
Based on the EFF’s previous work and their involvement in this particular project, it is that much harder to ignore the concerns raised in the open letter.
Skype, a popular voice and video communications service, was acquired by Microsoft for $8.5 billion in October 2011 and since that time has come under increased scrutiny.
The groups and individuals who signed the letter said that they are particularly concerned about how much access governments have to private user data along with the private conversations of Skype users.
“Many of its users rely on Skype for secure communications — whether they are activists operating in countries governed by authoritarian regimes, journalists communicating with sensitive sources, or users who wish to talk privately in confidence with business associates, family, or friends,” states the letter.

Max Keiser’s unpleasant facts on UK economy

Max Keiser deliberes some unpleasant truthes on the state of the UK economy. Questioned also by Mary Riddell from The Daily Telegraph and Craig Woodhouse from The Sun newspapers. Source

The Road to Debt-Serfdom

Charles Hugh Smith: Ours is a dysfunctional debt-based Empire that buys the complicity of its debt-serfs with entitlement bread and circuses.
The road to debt-serfdom is paved by the banks and enforced by the Central State. If there is any point that is lost on ideologues, Progressive and Conservative alike, it is this: the first-order servitude and second-order tyranny of debt-serfdom can only occur if the banks' power is extended and protected by an expansive Central State.
Progressives are blind to the State's essential role in creating and empowering a parasitic financial Aristocracy, and Conservatives are blind to the tyranny of debt-serfdom imposed by the private-sector financial Aristocracy, i.e. the banking sector.

Piers Morgan Sick After Televised Flu Shot

AlexJonesChannel: CNN host Piers Morgan is likely wanting another chat with daytime talk-show host Dr. Oz. for an explanation on why he got sick just days after having a flu vaccination administered on live television.

According to his recent interview with country music star and actor Dwight Yoakam, the host is admittedly feeling under-the-weather and has a sore throat.

Davos Still Pushes Failed Global Vision

Bill Black reports from Davos that the Global Competitiveness Report pushes countries towards even more deregulation - policies that helped trigger the crisis. Source

Royal torture ring: Bahraini princess on trial

Bahraini princess Nora Bint Ebrahim al-KhalifaRT: A Bahraini princess is in court for the torture of three pro-democracy activists in detention. The princess’s case is the latest in a string of cases of torture and violence has seen the light in a report issued by Bahraini opposition.
Princess Nora Bint Ebrahim al-Khalifa who serves in Bahrain’s Drugs Control Unit, allegedly collaborated with another officer to torture three activists held in detention following a pro-democracy rally against the island kingdom’s monarchy.
The princess categorically denies the charges of torture set against her.
Two of the princess’s alleged victims were Doctors Ghassan Daif and Bassem Daif, who went to help the hundreds wounded when police opened fire with teargas and birdshot during protests in 2011. They were taken into custody in March of that year when it is thought that al-Khalifa tortured them.
Ayat al-Qurmazi
Ayat al-Qurmazi
The third victim, 21-year-old Ayat al-Qurmazi, was arrested for public reading of inflammatory poetry criticizing the royal family. She claims her blindfold slipped while she was being tortured and she caught a glimpse of al-Khalifa.
As Muslim women have never before been known to take part in interrogations and tortures, Nora Al-Khalifa stands out as the grossest character in the human rights activists’ report, RT’s Nadezhda Kevorkova said.
Princess Nora’s case is the latest in a series of torture scandals highlighted in a report by the Bahrain Forum for Human Rights.
A 55-pages report titled Citizens in the Grip of Tortureis based on the nine interviews with named and anonymous witnesses.

How to Defeat the Left - Aurini

GREEK CRISIS: Russian geopolitics in play - The Slog

Russia’s state-run gas monopoly Gazprom has offered  €2bn to buy DEPA, Greece’s state owned gas company. The sum vastly exceeds DEPA’s real value, but the deal would bring Russia closer to a monopoly in the Greek energy market.
The 65% government-owned DEPA was offered for sale as an asset to be disposed of thanks to Greece’s debt ‘problems’ Two other Russian giants, Sintez company and Azerbaijan’s Socar, are also bidding.
The Gazprom offer worries Washington, and Moscow sources say the White House has called on the Greek government not to take the Gazprom offer.As The Slog has maintained from the start of the Greek fiasco, US influence and energy considerations are as central to the issue as is the madness in Berlin-am-Brussels.
But the Russian gas company’s action won’t be welcomed by the European Union either, because if Gazprom buys DEPA, then it will become a serious competitor in European gas projects.
However, in geopolitical energy terms, America will be the big loser.

Squatter Occupies Bank Of America-Owned $2.5 Million Boca Raton Mansion, Hilarity Ensues

Tyler Durden's picture The robosigning/fraudclosure fiasco came, saw, and eventually left following a comprehensive slap-on-the-wrist settlement with all mortgage originating banks. In the process, it gave an inadvertent hint to the banks how they can boost house property values: by keeping homes from exiting the foreclosure pipeline, and off the market due to a legal mandate forcing them to do just that, it created a shortage of homes available for sale and thus provided an explicit subsidy funded by the banks themselves. The resulting "foreclosure stuffing" remains with us to this day.
Yet while it did manage to artificially boost prices, the process succeeded in one thing: making a mockery out of property rights, as it became quite clear that nobody knows who owns what, hence demanding a global settlement release from the very top. But not even the 10th incarnation of Linda Green could possibly conceive of the following episode showing just how surreal U.S. housing reality can be, when one mixes combustible and outright idiotic property laws, with a real estate market that, when one pulls away the facade of "made for TV pundtiry", is in absolute shambles.

From the Orlando Sentinel:
Squatting in style: 23-year-old occupies empty $2.5 million Boca home - The 23-year-old has moved into an empty $2.5 million mansion in a posh Boca Raton neighborhood, using an obscure Florida real estate law to stake his claim on the foreclosed waterside property.
The police can't move him. No one saw him breaking into the 5-bedroom house, so it's a civil matter. And representatives for the real owner, Bank of America, said they are aware of the situation and are following a legal process.

But the situation is driving his wealthy neighbors crazy.

Them & US (Ft Naked on Grass Anim) - Deek Jackson

Kim Dotcom will encrypt half of the Internet to end government surveillance

In an in-depth interview, Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom discusses the investigation against his now-defunct file-storage site, his possible extradition to the US, the future of Internet freedoms and his latest project Mega with RT’s Andrew Blake.

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom (C) launches his new file sharing site "Mega", surrounded by dancers, in Auckland January 20, 2013. (Reuters/Nigel Marple)
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom (C) launches his new file sharing site "Mega", surrounded by dancers, in Auckland January 20, 2013. (Reuters/Nigel Marple)
The United States government says that Dotcom, a German millionaire formerly known as Kim Schmitz, masterminded a vast criminal conspiracy by operating the file-storage site Megaupload. Dotcom, on the other hand, begs to differ. One year after the high-profile raid of his home and the shut-down and seizure of one of the most popular sites on the Web, Dotcom hosted a launch party for his latest endeavor, simply called Mega.

Burgers, Banksters & Blackholes - Max Keiser with Jesse Eisinger

Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss the Brits offended by the horsemeat in their burgers and yet silent on the disgusting black holes of toxic debts inside taxpayer owned banks. In the second half of the show, Max Keiser talks to Pulitzer award winning journalist, Jesse Eisinger of ProPublica.org about big banks like Wells Fargo using accounting tricks very similar to those used by Enron, including off balance sheet entities, black box trading, black box loans and black hole financing. Source