Wikileaks DNC Document Dump: Detailed List of Findings

Wikileaks released nearly 20,000 hacked emails from the accounts of Democratic National Committee officials. Gateway Pundit posted a detailed list of findings from the Wikileaks document dump.

The list was compiled thanks to the work of Reddit Bernie Sander supporters and Donald Trump supporters: Hat Tip Steve A.

Here is their list of findings:

DNC member killing horses for insurance money.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/578
DNC making fun of black woman’s name.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/17942
DNC telling each other, “I love you too. no homo.”
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/425
DNC requesting a pull an MSNBC commentary segment.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/6107
DNC controlling the narrative with time released stories.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/12450
DNC conspiring to create false Trump information and release with Reuters.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/7102
DNC Hillary supporters infiltrated Sanders campaign.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/4776
DNC members going to complain to Morning Joe producers about his mentioning of a “rigged system.”
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/8806
DNC discussing their relationship with NBC/MSNBC/CNN and how to get better treatment.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/13762
Super PAC paying young voters to push back online Sanders supporters. Paid shills.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/8351
DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz having an off the record meeting in MSNBC President Phil Griffin’s office.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/8867
DNC being messed with by the Washington Examiner.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/5304
DNC discussing Hillary’s policies as unfeasible.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/519
$200k for a private dinner with Hillary.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/17287
Offering to send interns out to fake a protest against the RNC.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/13366
Faking outrage and pasting in a video later.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/7102
A mole working inside of the Sanders campaign.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/7793
Bringing up Sanders religion to scare the southern voters.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/11508
Possible money laundering by moving money back and forth to bypass legal limits.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/6230
Politico writer sending his stories to the DNC before he sends them to his editor.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/10808
DNC feeding CNN the questions they want to be asked in interviews.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/4077
Creating a fake job ad for a Trump business to paint him as a sexist.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/12803
Hillary funding 2 million dollars in a coordinated campaign in battleground states to win back the Senate.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/7784
DNC is upset that their “allies” didn’t send in protestors so they sent out interns.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/13366
“Clinton Foundation quid-pro-quo worries are lingering, will be exploited in general.”
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/8351
$50,000 – Lawrence Benenson.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/14700
Daily Fundraising Report for the DNC.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/2875
Content & Social Strategy Discussion.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/7512
Re: BuzzFeed and DNC connection.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/10933
Draft linking news articles about trump to use as negative press.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/7586
Fwd: State Dinner Countdown.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/1901
Some chick is angry she hasn’t been given more stuff from the Obama administration…might be interesting to follow up.
Re: State Dinner Countdown.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/2946
Tim O’Brien: Trump’s Fixation on Inflating his Net Worth is a Cause for Concern.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/4496
RE: May Fundraising Numbers.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/5615
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/7720
Hillary for America Raised $26.4 Million in April, Began May with More than $30 Million Cash on Hand.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/13986
Re: For approval: Trump supporter graphics.
https://www.wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/788
Press talking points, states Hillary is their candidate, dated May 5, 2016. More of a smoking gun than the ambiguous talk in the emails themselves.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/fileid/5254/2728
Consultant calling megyn kelly a bimbo. Has PDF attached that says the same.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/6087
DNC trying to get away with violating the Hatch Act.
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/20148
Democrats using interns to organize fake “protests.”
https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/13830
RE: Action on DNC tomorrow (Immigration Raids).
https://www.wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/9736

The Democratic National Convention may be over before it even starts.

VIDEO: Facebook Using a ‘Blacklist’ to Block Freedom of Speech?

According to the Frequently Asked Questions on the Facebook (FB) website, “Founded in 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.”

Is Facebook living by its mission statement?

Gizmodo posted a YouTube video stating, “Facebook workers routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers from the social network’s influential ‘trending’ news section, according to a former journalist who worked on the project.” Watch the Gizmodo video expose to learn more:

I recently posted a column titled FACEBOOK: You have been temporarily blocked from performing this action! Since the beginning of the presidential primary season Facebook has repeatedly blocked me from posting on pages that have given me permission to do so. I wrote, “Facebook and/or some individuals are using this administrative tool to block conservative citizen journalists, like myself, from posting links to articles they disagree with.” It appears my fears are true.

Gizmodo’s Michael Nunez reports:

Facebook workers routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers from the social network’s influential “trending” news section, according to a former journalist who worked on the project.

[ … ]

In other words, Facebook’s news section operates like a traditional newsroom, reflecting the biases of its workers and the institutional imperatives of the corporation. Imposing human editorial values onto the lists of topics an algorithm spits out is by no means a bad thing—but it is in stark contrast to the company’s claims that the trending module simply lists “topics that have recently become popular on Facebook.”

[ … ]

“Depending on who was on shift, things would be blacklisted or trending,” said the former curator.

Facebook is using all of its tools to stop those who post news stories that it disagrees with. From using the temporary blocking tool to actually blacklisting certain news stories of a conservative nature.

Perhaps the Facebook founders, senior leaders and workers need to read their own mission statement. To discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to us requires an open platform. One based upon the ideal of freedom of expression.

Time to return the power “to share and make the world more open” to the people, who are Facebook.

The War on Emojis by Gary McGath

Emoji are little picture symbols seen in text messages or social-media posts. Cute as they are, they’re often a center of controversy, and the Indonesian government has banned some of them, threatening to block access to websites that don’t cooperate.

Emoji is a Japanese word meaning “picture characters.” The word isn’t related to “emoticon,” a punctuation sequence used for expressing feelings, even though they sound similar.

There are emoji for all kinds of situations, and the Unicode standard for international text encoding has adopted many of them. Unicode includes modifier codes that allow the creation of composite emoji, so there’s a lot of room for creativity. Services can define their own emoji as well.

Inevitably, people have devised emoji representing same-sex relationships. Some of these, such as “two men holding hands” (👬), are part of the Unicode standard. Others, such as “man kissing man” (👨‍❤️‍💋‍👨), are composites.

This has drawn the ire of Indonesia’s Ministry of Communication and Informatics. It pressured Line, a major Japanese social network, to block these emoji, and it is now “asking” Facebook to do the same. If it doesn’t comply, the Negative Content Management Panel may block all access to Facebook in Indonesia. Because emoji use specific character codes, software can selectively block forbidden ones.

Indonesia has couched its censorship demands in terms of the “right” not to be offended. A government spokesperson has said that “such contents are not allowed in Indonesia based on our cultural law and the religious norms and the operators must respect that.”

Line has responded in kind, saying it “regrets the incidents of some stickers which are considered sensitive by many people … We ask for your understanding because at the moment we are working on this issue to remove the stickers.” (In this context, “stickers” means emoji.)

The Russian government recently considered legal action against Apple for including gay-oriented emoji in its iOS devices, but ironically decided against it because the symbols can be used with negative connotations as well as positive ones. Russian law prohibits “propaganda” for nontraditional sexual relationships where minors can see it — essentially, everywhere. The Russian investigation also covered emoji depicting cigarettes and alcoholic drinks, though it didn’t suggest banning the words for these things.

While things aren’t nearly this bad in the United States, authorities here sometimes crack down on emoji. The Washington Post reports that the Fairfax, Virginia police brought charges of harassment and threatening a school against a 12-year-old girl who made an Instagram post with gun (🔫), knife (🔪), and bomb (💣) emoji. Time mentions a case in which a teenager was charged with a terrorist threat for a Facebook post with gun emoji pointing at a police officer emoji (👮).

It’s become routine for governments to censor the Internet by blocking, or threatening to block, websites that don’t comply with their demands. The European Union has decreed a “right to be forgotten,” under which search engines can be forbidden to return links to factually correct information that an EU resident doesn’t want seen. Recently, Google agreed to block all results linking to forbidden information when accessed from an EU country.

Banning Unicode emoji seems petty in comparison, but it’s consistent with the idea that people should be shielded from seeing anything they find offensive. People who try to censor “offensive” content imagine that they’ll always be the arbiters of what’s offensive, but their own ideas will undoubtedly offend other people, and which expressions are banned depends only on who holds the power.

Gary McGathGary McGath

Gary McGath is a freelance software engineer living in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Islamic State ‘Caliphate Cyber Army’ Posts ‘Hit List’ of Minnesota Cops

The Islamic State’s Caliphate Cyber Army posted a “kill list” of names, addresses and other personal details of 36 policemen in Minnesota.

The FBI confirmed the list included full names, phone numbers, home and email addresses. The agency is investigating how the information came to be posted online.

The website Vocativ, which conducts investigations on the “Deep Web,” says individual cards with the information on them were shared through the mobile phone app Telegram, an encrypted messaging service (similar to Whats App).

“It is troubling to have that type of information online for the public to see,” FBI spokesperson Kyle Loven said.

Officer safety is the agency’s first concern, Loven added.

“We’re not going to look into whether or not this is a legitimate threat or an illegitimate threat,” he continued. “We’re going to take it and move forward with respect to what it is that we have to do in addressing this matter.”

Minnesota police officers confirmed their site had been hacked and the officers listed were those employers who had requested a quote for auto insurance,CBS local news in Minnesota reported.

The FBI advised officers on the list to maintain a heightened state of awareness “in case there would be someone who, unfortunately, would be inspired by this type of information being available,” Loven said.

The fact that Islamic extremists in Minnesota have successfully recruited and trained terrorists in the past is being taken into consideration by the FBI.

Most of the officers on the list live in or around the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul). The area’s Cedar Riverside neighborhood is home to the largest Somali community in the U.S. Since 2007, 24 men from Cedar Riverside have left the community to join extremist groups.

According to a congressional report released last November, one in four Americans who have attempted to joined the Islamic State are from Minnesota.

The Caliphate Cyber Army (CCA) has previously hacked into sensitive material on a number of occasions:

  • Last week, the CCA published a file containing information on 55 New Jersey police officers. The file was downloaded 300 times in 24 hours.
  • Also last week, the CCA posted a threat to financial institutions, saying they would target “banks, money transfer services, stocks and so on.” The threat, made on the group’s Telegram channel, continued, “Beware of us, economical war has just started.”
  • In November, a group called the Islamic State Cyber Army posted names and addresses of a number of people who have worked for American security agencies (although some of the details were already public).
  • In October, a UK citizen connected with the Islamic State published the home address of Robert O’Neill, the Navy Seal who killed Osama Bin Laden.
  • In January, 2015, ISIS hackers were able to command the YouTube and Twitter accounts of the U.S. Army’s Central Command.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Social Media Emerges as a Valuable Terrorist Fundraising Tool by Abha Shankar

Guidelines for a National Cyber Strategy

Kerry: Not Enough Information to Call ISIS Attacks Genocide

VIDEO: ISIS Orphans – A Next-Gen Recruiting Ground?

ISIS Releases Video of Burning Christian Books

Women in Raqqa Make Secret Film: Life Under ISIS

Islamic State Hackers Publish Names, Addresses of New Jersey Police

A file containing the information on 55 officers was uploaded to an Arabic-language, file-sharing site. It was downloaded 300 times in under 24 hrs.

The Islamic State’s ‘Caliphate Cyber Army’ (CCA) released the names, addresses and cell phone numbers of 55 New Jersey police officers, after hacking into a uniform laundry list.

The officers’ ranks, employee numbers and working locations were disclosed, as well as some home addresses.

A file containing the information on the officers, who all work for the transit police, was uploaded to an Arabic-language, file-sharing site, which showed that in less than 24 hours, the file had been downloaded 300 times.

Announcing the upload on the secure messaging service Telegram, the CCA described the file as “Personal information of the US police stations including Leaders and officers.”

In response, the New Jersey Transit System issued a statement which read, “The NJ Transit Information System was not compromised, however some information was breached from an outside vendor. The New Jersey Transit police are working the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI on this matter.”

The Caliphate Cyber Army is comprised of hackers sympathetic to the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and has mainly been successful in taking down small, unsecure websites and substituting its own propaganda.

However, last November, the “army” hacked into 54,000 Twitter accounts, posting the accounts’ passwords online. The group also posted the cell phone numbers of the CIA, the FBI and the National Security Agency.

The army was able to briefly control a Pentagon Twitter account in January.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Meatpackers and Somali workers (again) disrupt small town life in America

Police Officer Stabbed by 15-Year Old Girl In Islamic State Inspired Palestine-Style Kitchen Knife Attack

Disturbing ISIS Video: We Will Attack America ‘Very Soon’

UK Police Chief : Islamic State Planning ‘Spectacular’ Attack

Meet an ISIS Defector

Hear from Two Kids, 10 & 8, Who Escaped the Clutches of ISIS

Here’s Where Things Stand One Year Into Net Neutrality

KEY TAKEAWAY: 

One year after the FCC tossed out a successful regulatory policy that left a light touch on the Internet, allowing it to transform how we communicate, shop, and run our businesses, let’s see what has happened and where we’re headed.

Here are 4 things we know:

  1. Investment in Internet infrastructure is basically flat.
  2. There is a paper trail of how the FCC was bulldozed to take the Title II route by the White House.
  3. Congress is working on legislation.
  4. The fate of the regulation rests with the Judicial Branch.

Flat Internet Investment

In a 2015 paper, Robert Shapiro of the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy and Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute predicted that heavy-handed Net Neutrality will reduce communications infrastructure investment.

That prediction seems to be panning out.

Hal Singer, a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, found that capital expenditures (capex) for the top Internet Service Providers (ISP) decreased slightly in 2015:

It’s important to put this finding in context: According to USTelecom, which uses a larger sample of ISPs, broadband capex increased by 8.7 percent in 2013 (from $69 billion to $75 billion), and by 4.0 percent in 2014 (from $75 billion to $78 billion). Those were sizable gains. (Across the twelve ISPs in my sample, the increase in capex was slightly above four percent in 2014.)

Singer looks at this data and concludes:

This is not to suggest that Title II solely caused capital accumulation to stagnate. Several factors could be at play. But when investment theory is corroborated by evidence, as it is here, it is reasonable to infer that reclassification of ISPs as Title II common carriers was not a good thing for investment.

Speaking at the Heritage Foundation, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai said, “The Obama administration has now overseen the first-ever reduction in year-over-year investment by major ISPs that happened outside a recession, one which ‘just happens to coincide with the Title II era.’”

The White House Bullied the “Independent” FCC

In order to impose Net Neutrality, the FCC reclassified Internet providers by regulating them as common carriers and treating the Internet like a 20th Century phone network.

How the FCC went down this route is interesting. The FCC is supposed to be an independent federal agency, but a report from the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee finds it caved into President Barack Obama’s wish to impose Net Neutrality.

Documents and interviews with FCC staff piece together a timeline of an agency doing an about-faceafter being pressured by the White House, The Hill reports:

Culling together emails from late 2014, the Senate committee — led by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) — concluded that the FCC was heading in one direction to draft a hybrid plan, which would use strong authority to regulate the back end of the Internet but not for the consumer-facing side.

But after private meetings with White House staff and a public statement from the president urging strong rules under Title II, the FCC paused its work and then shifted direction. The report concluded the shift caught many career agency officials off guard and ultimately led the commission to push back a December 2014 vote it was planning.

Timeline of how the White House forced the FCC to implement Net Neutrality.. Source: Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

The report confirms what The Wall Street Journal reported in February 2015, that the White House “thwarted” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s alternative broadband regulation plan:

In November, the White House’s top economic adviser dropped by the Federal Communications Commission with a heads-up for the agency’s chairman, Tom Wheeler. President Barack Obama was ready to unveil his vision for regulating high-speed Internet traffic.

The specifics came four days later in an announcement that blindsided officials at the FCC. Mr. Obama said the Internet should be overseen as a public utility, with the “strongest possible rules” forcing broadband providers such as AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. to treat all Internet traffic equally.

The president’s words swept aside more than a decade of light-touch regulation of the Internet and months of work by Mr. Wheeler toward a compromise. On Wednesday, Mr. Wheeler lined up behind Mr. Obama, announcing proposed rules to ensure that the Internet “remains open, now and in the future, for all Americans,” according to an op-ed by Mr. Wheeler in Wired.

In addition, the report finds that some FCC professional career staff worried the regulatory process that resulted in Net Neutrality didn’t abide by the proper public notice-and-comment process required under the Administrative Procedures Act.

Congress Gets in on the Act

Congress, which never passed Net Neutrality legislation, isn’t sitting still.

Two piecemeal approaches working their way through the House of Representatives are one that would exempt small business ISPs from Net Neutrality transparency rules. Another, the No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act (H.R. 2666), would prevent  the FCC from regulating the rates of ISPs.

In the Senate, Commerce Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) plans to work on a more comprehensive billhe hopes can win bipartisan support.

Fate Lies in Federal Courts

Federal courts will have their say on Net Neutrality’s fate. An appeals court heard arguments in December 2015, and we await a decision. The U.S. Chamber submitted an amicus brief asking the court to overturn the FCC’s Net Neutrality decision. Depending on the outcome, the Supreme Court could end up hearing the case.

EXCLUSIVE PODCAST: Cyber Warfare — A Clear and Present Danger

I had the honor and pleasure of appearing on The Denise Simon Experience. The radio show is hosted by Denise Simon, who is the Senior Research and Intelligence Analyst for Foreign and Domestic Policy for numerous flag officers and intelligence organizations.

I spoke about the clear and present dangers of enemies, both foreign and domestic, using technology to commit crimes, steal national secrets and impact our way of life. Denise calls cyber attacks “the poor man’s nuclear weapon.” I talk about the current threat (attacks from nation states, cyber hackers and groups like Anonymous) to the looming future threat of cyborgs, chipping and Internables.

Internables are internal sensors that measure well-being in our bodies may become the new wearables. According to Ericsson’s ConsumerLab eight out of 10 consumers would like to use technology to enhance sensory perceptions and cognitive abilities such as vision, memory and hearing.

My greatest concern is that the United States government is only conducting defensive operations against the threat, and not doing that very well. The Obama administration does not conduct effective offensive operations against our enemies which include: China, Russia, Iran, the Islamic State, North Korea and many others.

I am on the first hour:

HOUR 1 – Dr. Rich Swier, LTC. U.S. Army (Ret.) successful publisher and national security expert spoke about artificial intelligence, hacking, cyber warfare and the future threat of chipping and Internables.

HOUR 2 – Jack Martin, with www.FairUS.org, explains the condition of American employees being replaced with foreign nationals and how the process has grown and is hurting employment. This is a don’t miss segment.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Smartphones to die out ‘within five years’, says new study – According to a new study mobile technology is expected to be replaced by artificial intelligence

The US Military Wants a Chip to Translate Your Brain Activity Into Binary Code

Techno-skeptics’ objection growing louder

Is technology causing us to evolve into a new SPECIES?

No, It’s Not Your 1st Amendment Right to “Talk Dirty” to a Child online

EDITORS NOTE: The Denise Simon Experience is broadcast live worldwide on Fridays from 12:05 AM – 2:00 AM (Eastern) on RedStateTalkRadio.com. Or you may visit The Denise Simon Experience to listen to her extensive interview archives.

ONLINE POLL: To Hack or Not to Hack? Apple and the San Bernadino iPhone

We offer both sides of the argument regarding the phone of a San Bernardino terrorist and invite you to vote on the issue in a Clarion Project Poll.

By Meira Svirsky and Elliot Friedland

Apple is fighting against a federal court that ordered the company to provide software for the FBI to unlock California terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone.

Farook, along with his wife Tashfeen Malik, killed 14 people in December 2015 in San Bernadino in a shooting rampage. Both were eventually killed in a shootout with police.

The FBI wants access to Farook’s phone to try to recreate the time immediately after the attack until they were cornered and killed to see if they had accomplices and, thus, to prevent any future attacks.

The court ordered Apple to provide software to bypass Farook’s work-issued phone that is encrypted with software to erase the phone’s data after 10 unsuccessful attempts to enter the phone’s password.

Below, Clarion Project offers the reader two compelling arguments: the case in favor of the court’s rulings and the case in favor of Apple’s objection. Go to our Facebook page and let us know how you feel by participating in our poll.

The Case Against Apple’s Objection (VOTE NOW)

The government’s request of Apple is above all for the purpose of saving lives in the future, a value that stands above others, including the right to privacy.

Commenting on the court’s decision, New York Police Department Commissioner Bill Bratton rightly said, “The right to privacy is not a total right in the sense that if it is being used for criminal purposes, that’s where the courts come into play.”

All the more so when it comes to terrorism and its devastating effect on society and the individual lives it destroys in its wake.

Although the court specifically ordered Apple to create special software to unlock Farook’s iPhone, it also ordered that software to be designed with a “unique identifier” so it could not be used to unlock other iPhones.

Nevertheless, Apple claims the court order sets a dangerous precedent, creating a “backdoor” into the device that is used across the world to store data ranging from bank accounts to embarrassingly-private photos.

In our technological age, we can reasonably assume someone will eventually create the technology to unlock iPhones. The question can be asked as to why the government, when lives are at stake, should be denied access to the same technology that may end up in the hands of terrorists to foist on us their bloody agenda?

America is country that operates on checks and balances, from the constitution to the courts and between the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. The reason the government was designed in such a way was to prevent the “slippery slope” that leads to abuse of power.

It is reasonable to assume in this case that similar orders in the future would not be issued in an environment lacking due process that would prevent large-scale abuse. It is also reasonable to assume that just as Apple has continually updated and improved its products, it will continue to stay ahead of the game vis-à-vis the security systems on those same devices.

Similar court orders in the future might then require product-specific software, thus decreasing the possibility of wide-scale abuse by the government.

Having Big Brother looking over our shoulder is never an ideal way to live. But if we occasionally have to put up with the intrusion, it’s worth it to stay alive.

The Case in Favor of Apple’s Objection (VOTE NOW)

The court ruling that Apple must create a backdoor route to hack into iPhones is a body blow to the right to privacy in America, unless Apple is successful in overturning it.

“In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone  in someone’s physical possession,” Apple CEO Tim Cook told Apple customers. “The government suggests this tool could only be used once, on one phone. But that’s simply not true. Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices.”

Government powers are rarely only used for the thing for which they were first acquired. This new technique will not merely be used in this one instance to open the iPhone of a dead terrorist, but empower the government to hack iPhones at will.

Although that power is targeted at terrorists today, there is no telling what uses future governments will make of the technology. Cases in point: Barack Obama’s White House has been accused of using the IRS to persecute conservative groups; disgraced former president Richard Nixon bugged the Watergate Hotel in order to spy on his political enemies. Future presidents could quite easily use these technologies to monitor and persecute whichever group they choose for whatever reason.

Furthermore, there is no reason to assume this technology would remain in the hands of America. What would prevent authoritarian states like Saudi Arabia and Iran from gaining access to this technology, using their own court orders to force Apple to hand it over or banning all Apple products from their countries? Is the government certain this technology will remain under lock and key and not fall into the hands of non-state actors who could then access the iPhones of government officials?

Finally, there is a more idealistic reason to oppose this ruling. The fight against Islamist extremism is a fight to protect the values of freedom and democracy. If, in fighting that battle, we give our own governments the tools to monitor and spy on us will have lost.

Even if we are victorious, we will have simply exchanged one set of tyrants for another.

VOTE NOW

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

Elliot Friedland is a research fellow at Clarion Project.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Delivery Man Charged With Planning to Attack US, UK Airmen

More Reps Cosponsor Bill to Designate MB as Terrorist Org.

ISIS Clip Declares: “America Has Lost The Battle”

World Hijab Day Debuts in American Schools

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of the Islamic State San Bernardino Muslim terrorists Tashfeen Malik (left) and Syed Rizwan Farook

The Cyber Attack on the Ukrainian Electrical Infrastructure: Another Warning

By Gabi Siboni and Zvi Magen –

Gabi SiboniZvi Magen

On December 23, 2015, malfunctions were reported in portions of the electrical network in western Ukraine, after the operations of 27 distribution stations and three power plants were disrupted, causing the electricity supply system to crash. This was not a routine power outage: the Ukrainian authorities believe that a cyber attack originating in Russia caused the malfunction, and the Security Service of Ukraine has blamed Russia for the power outages. The conclusions of several security companies confirm the suspicion linking the attack to Sandworm, which according to the security company iSight is a Russian group affiliated with the Russian government. Hypotheses regarding a possible motive also support the suspicion that Russia is the party responsible for the attack, perhaps as part of the Russian campaign against cutting off the Crimean Peninsula, annexed by Russia, from electricity supplied by Ukraine. Cyberspace operations also enable Russia to continue denying its involvement in Ukraine, while at the same time persisting in efforts to attack it.

For some time, security experts have warned that critical services – for example, electricity and water supplies – can be attacked through cyberspace. The assumption is that such action requires sophisticated capabilities in cyber intelligence, technology, and operations, and possession of such capabilities is usually attributed to countries that have invested heavily in their development. Until now, even if in possession of such capabilities, most countries have shown restraint in using cyber tools to materially disrupt essential services and critical infrastructure in enemy countries. Events in Ukraine, however, question whether this assumption of restraint is still valid. On December 23, 2015, malfunctions were reported in portions of the electrical network in western Ukraine, after the operations of 27 distribution stations and three power plants were disrupted, causing the electricity supply system to crash. Many homes were cut off from the network. This was not a routine power outage: the Ukrainian authorities believe that a cyber attack originating in Russia caused the malfunction, and the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has blamed Russia specifically for the power outages.

Ukrainian Nationalists and a cheering crowd after the toppling of the statue of Communist leader Grigory Petrovsky, Dnipropetrovsk, January 29, 2016. Photo: Stanislas Vedmid / AFP

It is difficult to prove with certainty who was behind the attack, but presumably the relevant authorities in Ukraine, with the help of Western agencies, will ultimately uncover the attacker’s identify. The Ministry of Energy in Kiev has appointed a committee to investigate the affair. Thus far assessments concerning the party responsible for the attack are based on forensic examinations carried out on the damaged computers, which indicates that components in them were previously used by Russian groups. Furthermore, not surprisingly the technological capabilities point to a Russian element.

The conclusions of several security companies confirm the suspicion linking the attack to Sandworm, which according to the security company iSight is a Russian group affiliated with the Russian government. iSight has monitored Sandworm for over a year, and discovered that the group has collected information from the computers of Ukrainian administration officials, and from agencies in the European Union and NATO. Other security experts reported that the group was also focusing on attacking industrial control systems. According to the security company ESET, located in Bratislava, the attackers used backdoor software that makes it possible to conduct operations on the target computers through a remote control server. In the Ukrainian case, use was made of a BlackEnergy component – a Trojan horse used as early as 2014 – to spy on Ukrainian administration computers and plant a malware program called KillDisk on power station computers in western Ukraine.

Hypotheses regarding a possible motive also support the suspicion that Russia is the party responsible for the attack, perhaps as part of the Russian campaign against cutting off the Crimean Peninsula, annexed by Russia, from electricity supplied by Ukraine. In addition, there is a great deal of information about the presence of advanced cyber warfare capabilities possessed by Russia and affiliated organizations, with Russia taking the lead in developing a combat doctrine that encompasses both kinetic and cybernetic activity. In the case of Ukraine, cyberspace operations enable Russia to continue denying its involvement in its neighbor, while at the same time persisting in efforts to attack it.

Effective wielding of the cyber weapon against sensitive targets in another country, in this case Ukraine, is likely to have far reaching consequences, not only for the future course of the particular conflict, but also for conflicts between other countries, or between countries and non-state organizations able to procure both offensive and defensive cyber capabilities. To be sure, similar cases of cyber attacks were recorded in the past. One of the best known examples of attack against infrastructure facilities that caused actual physical damage was the attack on Iranian nuclear installations with the Stuxnet software – alleged by some to have been carried out by Israel and the United States. Attacks in the Baltic states designed to prevent service were attributed to Russia. Nevertheless, the cyber attack in western Ukraine clearly reflects the use of this weapon against critical civilian infrastructure on a larger scale. This event, a precedent tantamount to crossing the Rubicon, is liable to serve as a model for imitation by other countries and perhaps organizations as well, while eroding the barriers of restraint that previously existed. In other words, it appears that the Ukraine incident is a sign that an especially important threshold has been crossed. Espionage, the theft of commercial information, financial crime, and denial of services are tolerable; although bothersome, they do not materially and directly harm the substance of daily life. An attack against the electrical infrastructure, however, can damage critical infrastructure and jeopardize human life. It therefore constitutes a quantum leap in the will to cause damage, in this case by a state.

Like other countries threatened in cyberspace, Ukraine will have to consider how to improve its defensive capabilities against similar events in the future. Israel can provide an example here. Over the past decade, Israel has been able to develop advanced defensive capabilities for its critical infrastructure. Its defensive envelope includes gathering and analyzing intelligence and distributing it to the relevant agencies, as well as monitoring by the Israel Security Agency. This has created an environment of ongoing improvement and enhancement in defensive capabilities. Still, the proliferation of cyber capabilities, which has accelerated in recent years, enables new-old players – terrorist organizations and criminal elements – to acquire capabilities previously considered the exclusive province of nations. Concern is therefore growing that these non-state actors, which lack restraint mechanisms and state-like considerations, will attempt to imitate the model demonstrated in the attack on the electricity infrastructure in Ukraine.

Disruption of the supply of electricity is no trivial matter. It is enough to recall the events in Israel in late 2015 resulting from natural causes, and not a cyber attack: harsh winter weather caused serious disruptions over widespread areas lasting for many days. Israel is especially vulnerable in this aspect, due to the concentrated topology of its electricity grid. It is therefore necessary to continue monitoring related developments in Israel’s strategic environment and throughout the world to assess whether there is a growing trend of cyber attacks able – despite sophisticated defensive measures – to inflict serious damage, and to prepare accordingly.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The Institute for National Security Studies website.

National Security Agency: Spying on American Jews, Israel and the U.S. Congress

Shoshana Bryen is Senior Director at the Washington, D.C. based Jewish Policy Center.  She has been a frequent guest on The Lisa Benson Show regarding US-Israel relations, the Obama Administration and national security.  On the first program of the New Year, January 3, 2016, she appeared  to address allegations raised by a Wall Street Journal article about NSA spying on Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and by happenstance, Members of Congress and American Jewish leaders, “US Spy Net  on Israel Snares Congress. “  She also responded to an NER Iconoclast post on whether the Israel Defense Force was prepared to meet the threat of ISIS affiliates on both the Syrian frontier and the Egyptian Sinai. She also spoke of an emerging relationship with Putin’s Russia allowing Israeli freedom to attack Hezbollah targets in Syria.

Listen to the segment with Bryen on the Benson show Podcast of January 3, 2016 starting at the 20 minute mark:

As is our practice in producing the weekly Benson Show, we send our guests a set of suggested questions requesting they select a limited number to respond in what a fast is paced packed 44 minutes.  Bryen prepared written responses to the original of set of questions. Below are her astute and illuminating responses.

What is real story behind the Wall Street Journal report alleging NSA spying on Israeli PM Netanyahu, Congressional members and American Jewish Leaders?

Bryen:  The administration was spying on Congress; maybe still is.  The White House tried to put a layer of protection between itself and illegal NSA activity by saying “do what you want.” If there was a problem or a lawsuit over this, the White House position wouldn’t hold up. NSA was spying on Israel and vice versa – nothing new.

The real targets were Congress and American Jews. I don’t see that Congress knew about this specific spying. Surely no one up there is naive and they know they are listened to. This is important for the next points. That makes the idea that they would get on the phone with Israeli Ambassador to US Ron Dermer and allow him to bribe them over the wire totally ridiculous. Whatever NSA got, they did not get it from tapping Dermer’s phone. They probably also did not get it from tapping Congressional phones because Congress assumes it is tapped and no one was discussing bribery.  What could you bribe a Congressman with to get his/her vote on this?

There was no collusion between Ron Dermer and the American Jewish community. I was part of the machinations opposing the nuclear deal with Iran, although the Jewish Policy Center does not lobby; we are only in the information business. “The Jews” knew their talking points and didn’t need Dermer for anything. If they talked to him, that is one thing.  However, needing him for “talking points,” again, that is ridiculous. If there are intercepts of American Jews talking to Congressional members it would have to come from bugging Congress. Lee Smith, of The Weekly Standard makes the point that if there was bribery or attempted bribery involved, there would already be criminal cases. There are none, of course. So, where does that leave us?

NSA spying is only supposed to be done for issues of National Security. One can make the argument that if the US government thought Israel was going to bomb Iran, it would rise to that level. However by 2013, the US was positive Israel was not going to do that. What comes after is political.

Are the enemies of the White House are Congress and the Jews? Congress because Obama knew it opposed the deal. That is why the talks needed to be secret. Also, the talks leading to the talks needed to be secret. They were worried that Israel would spill the beans. Israel didn’t.

There were several incidents in which the Administration let people know what the problems were.  Lee Smith points in his article to a Jon Stewart interview with the President. There is also The New York Times (NYT) editorial that accused Jews of being more loyal to a foreign government than to the US. Senators Schumer and Menendez were damned as “beholden to donors” – code word for Jews.

Obama told Stewart: “If people are engaged, eventually the political system responds. Despite the money, despite the lobbyists, it still responds.” Stewart said, “What do you mean by lobbyists?” The President didn’t answer, but after the signing of the JCPOA, he said Congress would evaluate this agreement fairly, “not based on lobbying, but based on what is in the national interests of the United States of America.”

The NYT reported on a Democratic Issues Conference in Baltimore where the President said he understood the pressures that senators face from “donors and others.” However, according to the NYT, Obama urged the lawmakers to “take the long view rather than make a move for short-term political gain,” meaning money and Jewish support. Menendez was offended.

Smith actually thinks there was no specific bugging going on, but just an attempt to intimidate Congress and the Jews. I disagree.  They think they are above the law on these things. And they may be, but it doesn’t appear to matter.

Why are media accusations unfounded that American Jewish leaders and U.S. Congressional friends of Israel take their cues from the Israeli Embassy?

Bryen:   Because those accusations presume American Jews NEED someone to tell them how they are supposed to feel about a political issue. On its face that is ant-Semitic. American Jews are a sophisticated community of Americans – although I have some disagreements with where they come out on some issues – they don’t need anyone, particularly a foreign government, to tell them what to think or what to do about issues.

Have these disclosures impacted on US- Israel intelligence cooperation and weapons deliveries to maintain Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge?

Bryen:  No, there is no present impact that I can discern. First, all intelligence agencies assume that they are being spied on by both friends and enemies. It’s nothing new. Second, the relationship works both ways – the American intelligence services rely on Israel for information in the region.

What options does Congress have to bar lifting sequestered funds of Iran now that the Administration announced delays in new sanctions in view of Iran’s violation of ballistic missile testing under UN Resolutions?

They’re talking about new sanctions laws in Congress after the holiday recess. Note that Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) is the loudest voice on this. He voted FOR the JCPOA and he’s figured out that the deal was a disaster and Secretary Kerry’s “snapback sanctions” were a joke.

Congress can pass any law it wants – sanctions included. Iran’s public interpretation of the deal is that any new sanctions would violate the JCPOA and leave Iran free to withdraw from it – or actually, continue to violate it. The White House appears to be siding with Iran including on the secure visa procedure, which is absolutely an obligation of Congress. Iran remains on the State Sponsor of Terror list because of its support for Hezbollah and Hamas. If the White House does not want more sanctions, it will threaten a veto.  Then you will have the extraordinary spectacle of a U.S. government shielding the world’s top sponsor of terror from the United States Congress.

How prepared is the IDF to contend with threats from ISIS in both Syria and the Sinai?

Bryen:  Israel is in a continual state of readiness.  For years they have had to closely identify and track the threats. They are helped by the determination of Egypt in Sinai – with which the US government should be thrilled. It is the actual implementation of the Camp David Accords. The problem for the US in the Sinai is that we have the Multilateral Force and Observers there – MFO – primarily manned by Americans. It is a holdover from Camp David designed to ensure that the Egyptians don’t move military equipment into Sinai in quantities larger than Camp David permitted. Now it is a target for ISIS and affiliated Bedouin groups.

Israel is helped on the northern front by the fact that at the moment neither the Assad government nor Hezbollah wants to open another front and Russia would not permit it. The Israel-Russia relationship is fascinating.  It is mutually beneficial right now and has the seeds of longer-lasting cooperation.

As for ISIS, while in theory killing Jews would be fine, it doesn’t need a second front either. There is a growing threat of ISIS-inspired organizations on the Syrian border, where multiple local factions have pledged allegiance to ISIS leadership. The more immediate risk, however, is most likely related to ISIS’ possible impact on Israeli Arab youth, both within Israel and in Judea and Samaria.

Given the latest killings of Israelis in Tel Aviv by an Israel Arab, what can the Netanyahu government do to prevent such deadly attacks?

Bryen: We don’t’ have all the information, including whether or not it was actually terrorism. It didn’t have the usual “fingerprints.”  The perpetrator was an Israeli Arab citizen who had served five years for a previous attack on an IDF solider. He used a firearm deliberately hitting two people, not spraying the restaurant for maximum casualties. The attack was in the heart of Tel Aviv and he fled the scene.  Israeli Police hedged on whether it was simply a criminal act. If it was a terrorist, it appears to be of the “lone wolf” variety, which means Israel has the same problem the U.S. does.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

CYBER SECURITY ALERT: Smartphone App allows access by cyber-criminals

Bret Baier from Fox News in an interview with Gary Miliefsky, CEO of SnoopWallreports that information about a popular smartphone application exposes your personal information to cyber criminals.

Read the full SnoopWall Flashlight Apps Threat Assessment Report here.

Americans Want More Protections For Emails and Online Communications

WASHINGTON, D.C. /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Digital 4th coalition unveiled new poll results showing broad and diverse support for stronger email privacy protections – both nationally and in early primary states. According to a survey by Vox Populi Polling, 86% of voters nationwide support an update to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), the 29-year-old law setting standards for government access to emails and online communications. In Iowa, 81% of Democratic voters and 74% of Republican voters are behind ECPA reform. The numbers were similar in New Hampshire, with 84% of Democrat voters and 75% of Republicans in support.

Moreover, 77% of voters across the country believe the government should be required to get a warrant from a judge before obtaining access to emails, photos and documents stored online.

“ECPA reform is overwhelmingly bipartisan and overwhelmingly supported by Americans across the country. There is tremendous momentum with more than 300 members of Congress co-sponsoring legislation requiring a warrant for emails and online communications. The legislation would simply extend Constitutional protections online,” said Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel and Policy Advisor at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and a member of the Digital 4th coalition.

“What’s particularly illuminating is that more than three out of every four voters believe that the government needs to get a warrant before accessing emails and other online communications. Federal agencies like the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) have been advocating to circumvent the warrant requirement. It’s clear that Americans see this as nothing more than a power grab. We hope Congress stands up to federal agencies and preserves our constitutional rights online,” said Katie McAuliffe, Federal Affairs Manager at Americans Tax Reform (ATR) and member of the Digital 4th coalition.

“Support for strengthening online privacy spans across all ages, races and political affiliations. This level of support is typically unheard of in politics today. It is clear from our results that Americans want online privacy laws to be updated,” said Michael Meyers of Vox Populi Polling.

Other notable numbers from the poll include:

  • 84% of voters feel that privacy is important (63% extremely or very important) when it comes to the government accessing their online information. Only 16% of voters feel that it is not very important or not important at all.
  • 77% of voters reported that a warrant should be required to access these online communications. 78% of Democrats and 76% of Republicans supported the requirement of a warrant.
  • ECPA reform does have an effect on presidential candidate choice for a majority of American voters. 53%of all likely general election voters stated that they would be more inclined to vote for a candidate who supported strengthening online privacy through ECPA reform.

To read a memo on the full polling results, click here.

Muslim hacker to release CIA Director Brennan’s Emails

All that pandering, and the jihadis cut him no slack.

“Purported CIA email hacker pushed for ‘Free Palestine,’ praised Allah on Twitter,” Fox News, October 20, 2015:

Details are emerging about the motivations and the methods behind the alleged hack of CIA Director John Brennan’s personal AOL email account, with the supposed hacktivist identifying on Twitter as an advocate for a “free” Palestinian state — and claiming he and others broke in simply by fooling a Verizon agent.

He also praised Allah in his Twitter bio.

Meanwhile, questions are being raised about Brennan potentially having sent work-related emails through his personal account, a move one tech expert called “just plain stupid.” And if any work-related emails were sent containing classified information, it could pose a legal problem similar to the one facing Hillary Clinton.

A law enforcement source confirmed to Fox News Monday that the FBI was looking into claims that Brennan’s personal AOL email was hacked.

Analysts noted the cyber-vandals may have used a tactic known as “social engineering,” and not traditional hacking. The anonymous hacker claiming credit told WIRED that he and two other people, after learning Brennan was a Verizon customer, posed as a Verizon technician to trick another Verizon employee into giving them access to the company’s customer database.

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 2.32.36 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 2.36.27 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 2.36.13 PMFrom there, they reportedly were able to access Brennan’s account number, his backup cell phone, the last four digits of his bank card number and his AOL email address. With that information, they were able to call AOL and gain access to the account on Oct. 12, the hacker told WIRED.

The hacktivist’s Twitter account includes links to files he says are Brennan’s contact list, a log of phone calls by then-CIA deputy director Avril Haines, and other documents.

One document purporting to come from Brennan’s AOL email account contains a spreadsheet of people, including senior intelligence officials, along with their Social Security numbers, although the hacker redacted the numbers in the version he posted on Twitter.

The hacker told the New York Post he had also obtained a 47-page version of Brennan’s application for a security clearance, known as an SF86. That document contains detailed information about past jobs, foreign contacts, finances and other sensitive personal details. No such document appears to be posted on the hacker’s Twitter account, but it’s not clear whether the hacker posted it elsewhere.

“His SF86 contains information on references on bosses, on managers, on friends. If that file gets out, it could actually put these people’s lives in danger. Their identity is not supposed to be known by the general public,” Morgan Wright, a cybersecurity expert, told Fox News.

The hacker, whom the New York Post described in an article published Sunday as “a stoner high school student,” appears to have been motivated in part by his support for a Palestinian state.

The hacker told WIRED that when they called Brennan’s cell phone, he asked them what they wanted, to which they replied: “We just want Palestine to be free and for you to stop killing innocent people.”

The supposed hacker’s Twitter page also referenced the Palestinian cause.
Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 2.32.36 PM

In his bio on Twitter, the hacker also posted “La il laha il Allah, Muhammad a rasool Allah” which translates as “There is no god but Allah. Muhammad is the messenger of Allah” – a traditional Islamic statement of faith.

It’s unclear to what extent Brennan may have used the AOL account for work-related business. A CIA spokesman told Fox News they are aware of the claims: “We are aware of the reports that have surfaced on social media and have referred the matter to the appropriate authorities.”

As the matter is under review, the veracity of the hacker’s claims is unclear. But one tech expert told FoxNews.com that the story sounded credible.

“[Hackers] learn the jargon and pose as line workers or switch operators and get access to restricted areas of the network,” Roger Kay, of Endpoint Technologies Associates, told FoxNews.com. “Security at AOL and other networks is reasonable, but weak passwords can always be cracked, and password recovery schemes are typically based on information about people stored from questions like ‘What was the name of your first pet?’”

Kay said that, if the claims are true, the breach shows poor judgment from the man in charge of the nation’s central intelligence.

“The CIA director was just plain stupid to use a common service like AOL for sensitive communications. He really should have known better,” Kay said….

RELATED ARTICLES:

California Muslim wanted to blow up daycare center because it was “Zionist”

Trump: If elected, I would shut down certain U.S. mosques

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on PamelaGeller.com. To stay on top of what’s really happening please follow Pamela on Twitter and like her on Facebook here.

Kosovo Muslim arrested for hacking U.S. Military files for the Islamic State

“A statement from the U.S. Department of Justice said Mr Ferizi, known by his moniker ‘Th3Dir3ctorY’, hacked into a U.S. company’s systems in order to take the personal details of 1,351 U.S. military and government staff.” The repercussions of that theft could be felt for quite some time.

“Malaysia arrests Kosovo man for ‘hacking US files for IS,’” BBC, October 16, 2015 (thanks to Lookmann):

A Kosovan man has been arrested in Malaysia for allegedly hacking into a computer database and providing information on US security officials to the so-called Islamic State group.

The man, who is in his 20s, was detained on 15 September, Malaysian police said in a statement on Thursday.

Separately, the US identified him as Ardit Ferizi, thought to head a hacker group called Kosova Hacker’s Security (KHS).

Mr Ferizi will be extradited to the US.

A statement from the US Department of Justice said Mr Ferizi, known by his moniker “Th3Dir3ctorY”, hacked into a US company’s systems in order to take the personal details of 1,351 US military and government staff.

He will be charged with computer hacking and identity theft, and faces up to 35 years in jail, the statement added….

Between June and August this year, Mr Ferizi is alleged to have passed the data on to IS member Junaid Hussain, also known as Abu Hussain al-Britani, who later posted the details online along with a threat to target the officials….

Malaysia has arrested more than 100 people this year, suspected of links to IS, including ten people in August – six of them members of Malaysia’s security forces.

What? 100 people in modern, moderate Malaysia misunderstood Islam so drastically as to adhere to the Islamic State?

RELATED ARTICLES:

“Palestinian” Muslim rioters set Joseph’s Tomb on fire

51% of U.S. Muslims want Sharia; 60% of young Muslims more loyal to Islam than to U.S.

Hackers Reveil How Volkswagen Secretly Cheated Emissions Tests by Gary McGath

Cars are part of the “Internet of Things.” They run not just on gas, which you’re free to analyze, but on computer code, which you aren’t. If this sounds worrisome, it is. Internal computers can greatly improve a car’s performance and safety, but they can have problems that show no symptoms under normal circumstances.

A couple of hackers, with a knowing volunteer at the wheel, took remote control of a Jeep Cherokee over the Internet and could have wrecked it at high speed if they hadn’t stopped when asked to. More recently, Volkswagen was caught rigging its emissions-control software to cheat during EPA testing, letting them publish false information about millions of cars.

Car computers are formally called “electronic control units” (ECUs). One car may have over a hundred of them, running millions of lines of code, networked together. Figuring out what they do takes determination; it’s necessary to pull out their memory chips, read them, and work backwards from machine code to the design logic.

But the biggest barrier may not be technical but legal; copyright laws make it illegal to do this kind of reverse engineering, and the EPA itself has helped automakers to keep their emissions-testing code secret.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act puts restrictions on extracting copyrighted information from computers, even for legitimate diagnostic purposes. Car makers like this; it puts serious limits on independently created diagnostic tools and gives the advantage to shops that pay for licenses.

The EPA has formally opposed a DMCA exception for car systems, arguing that it would let people modify the code to circumvent limitations on emissions. It said that “the majority of modifications to engine software are being performed to increase power and/or boost fuel economy.” That’s just what Volkswagen did, and it was harder to catch them precisely because of those prohibitions.

The Alliance of Auto Manufacturers, which includes Volkswagen, has taken the same stand. Ironically, their statement declares:

Many of the ECUs embodied in today’s motor vehicles are carefully calibrated to satisfy federal or state regulatory requirements with respect to emissions control, fuel economy, or vehicle safety.

Allowing vehicle owners to add and remove programs at whim is highly likely to take vehicles out of compliance with these requirements, rendering the operation or re-sale of the vehicle legally problematic.

John Deere explicitly opposes a free market in car software:

In contrast to the seemingly benign stated purpose of the proposed exemption, the practical effect of circumventing the TPMs [Technical Protection Measures] at issue will stifle creativity and innovation for vehicle software. Third-party software developers, pirates, and competing vehicle manufacturers will be encouraged to free-ride off the creativity and significant investment in research and development of innovative and leading vehicle manufacturers, suppliers, and authors of vehicle software.

The way to promote creativity and innovation is, apparently, to make it illegal for anyone but themselves.

ECUs can be subject to external attacks as well as internal cheatware. Some devices are connected to the Internet for purposes like traffic alerts and entertainment. If they’re part of the car’s internal network, attackers might be able to subvert the whole car, as the Cherokee hackers did. Good design requires firewalls against such attacks, but developers struggling with requirements and hardware limits may neglect security. With no other eyes on their code, it’s easy to be sloppy.

People have tinkered with cars ever since they were first made. They swap in their own parts, making their cars faster, powerful, and sometimes a lot more annoying. This tradition has helped people to learn how the original parts work and catch problems with them. Spotting flaws and cheats in computer code isn’t as easy as catching bad brakes, but it’s easier when the only barriers are technical. When the government and car manufacturers combine to keep the software secret, the rest of us are stuck in the breakdown lane.

Gary McGath

Gary McGath is a freelance software engineer living in Nashua, New Hampshire.