Fwd: GNU hackers discover HACIENDA government surveillance and give us a way to fight back

Robert J. Hansen rjh at sixdemonbag.org
Thu Aug 21 15:54:17 CEST 2014

> GNU community members and collaborators have discovered threatening
> details about a five-country government surveillance program
> codenamed HACIENDA. The good news? Those same hackers have already
> worked out a free software countermeasure to thwart the program.

A little late to the party.  This sort of thing's gone on in the private
sector for at least six years -- that's when I first encountered a
business that continually portscanned the entire IPv4 address space,
service identification, and identification of known vulnerabilities
against those services.

Last I checked there were at least four businesses doing this, and
selling their results to anyone who could cough up $10K a year for a

Also note that, contrary to the FSF's press release, this isn't
government surveillance.  It isn't even surveillance in the usual sense
of the word.  If you run a public service like HTTP, how is it
"surveillance" for someone, anyone, to say "the server sixdemonbag.org,
located at IP address 111.222.333.444, is running FooHTTPD 3.17"?
That's like driving down the street and reporting on what colors
people's houses are and whether they have their garage door open.

Distasteful, sure.  But "surveillance" seems to mean something more:
someone listening in on things that you have good reason to believe are

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