Archive for April, 2012

Archive for April, 2012

Dystoparx — Part 17

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Child Abuse Right at the Top?

Yesterday, RCMP Comissioner Robert Sandall was suspended on suspicions raised by an internal investigation. No details have been released, but a source close to the matter has told the CBC that Sandall may be implicated in several cases of direct child abuse and possibly the creation and distribution of child pornography. No charges have yet been filed.

Watch this space for updates as the situation develops.

Acklas pulls out his laptop and logs on. He has taken a bus to a neighbouring city and is in a coffee shop there, hoping no one will bother him to buy something before his task is complete. Everything that needs doing has been scripted in advance. He runs the script and watches the output, hoping that everything works on the first try. To his suprise, it does. He smiles. Good, everything is in place. He double-checks a couple of things to make sure the script has indeed done its job. It has.

He closes his laptop and waits a few minutes before heading out. No one bothers him.

Acklas boards a bus heading back towards home. He waits several more minutes before putting the battery back in his cell-phone and connecting to a chat with Jack and Nicnus.

* Your connection has been secured

17:19 <acklas> on to phase 2 😀

17:21 <jjdavis> phase 2 of what?

17:22 <nicnus> jjdavis: of his plan to take down All the Bad Guys

17:23 <acklas> nicnus: 😛 yes, sure

17:23 <jjdavis> what does phase 2 entail?

“What do you mean, it’s gone?” Bill gives the tech a smouldering stare.

“Well, uh… obviously we still have any data we saved out of the stream as it came in, but—”

A second tech breaks in, trying to save the first from some embarassment, “But nothing is coming in anymore. That source is sending literally no data.”

Bill considers this, then calms down, “That’s expected. The Comissioner has been suspended. He knows we know. He would stop anything that was happening.”

A moment, then, “Sure, but—”

The first tech breaks back in, “We called the MusicBox people. They have no record of any of the data. At all.”

Bill considers this. No record at all? But… it’s their data. All the data comes from the MusicBox people… “How is that possible?”

“We don’t know.”

Someone is calling his name. He looks around. A head pops up from another area of the office and calls him over.

They’re showing him a YouTube video. What? A YouTube video? Something is happening, he—


Clouds are rolling on the screen. A storm. Some kind of nature video? Then the voice begins.


It’s clearly just a cheap computer voice, and yet… paired with the visuals this computer voice sounds like… well…

“Good morning,” it begins, flubbing the intotation already just this far into the speech, “When the RCMP and other law enforcement agencies first got excited by the idea of circumventing privacy law by taking the data being collected by the MusicBox software and using it for their own purposes, many experts pointed out that flaws in the system could allow false data to be injected into the stream. Some of these weaknesses were exploited to produce an anti-spyware pseudo-virus, which now lives on many of your computers, protecting you from the prying eyes of those who would read your private data.

“Yesterday, I proved a practical exploitation of a much more sinister weakness. I sent false evidence of child pornography creation and distribution to the RCMP, and only to the RCMP. No one else has this data. On the basis of this data and this data alone (for there could not be any other source, especially given the timing), the RCMP suspended their own Comissioner and began an internal investigation.

“The code which I used to do this has been published at the location linked to in the description of this video. It is so simple, and yet the most important law enforcement agency in Canada started a witch hunt after just one day of its use. Imagine what would happen if they were given the power to exploit other, even less reliable, data streams? It would be just like the French Revolution: accusations flying wherever they will, and law enforcement blindly following along with everything they are told.

“I have stopped the transmission of the false data. I hope the law enforcement officers, the politicians, and the media, will see this as a sign that they cannot trust the data they have been trumpeting as their salvation. No real arrests have come of these projects, and now it is obvious that many false arrests may be their eventual result.

“If, however, this warning goes unheeded, I have no doubt that many others like me will rise up to make chaos. Too long have we sat aside while our governments slide into a pit. They have declared war on us the people, and if it is war they want, then we will bring the chaos. We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.”

17:50 <jjdavis> Really, acklas? An *Anonymous* video?

* acklas shrugs

17:51 <acklas> seemed like a reasonable way to communicate

* nicnus shakes his head

17:54 <acklas> either way, the ball is now firmly in their court. I may not even have to do anything more

17:55 <nicnus> acklas: you have way too much faith in the Internet Hate Machine. They get bored easily

17:55 <acklas> maybe

Later that day, Nicnus’ brother also sees the video. He shows it to his girlfriend. They have no idea. His girlfriend, however, is disgusted. She supports the legitimate actions of law enforcement to bring an end to all that is unwholesome. Or something like that.

She’s watching her favourite talkshow. Or whatever this sort of show is being called by her social group. The video has become a topic. Acklas has done a very good job of blanketing the media in awareness. Lots of messages went out. Once the mainstream is reporting it at all, then they all have to report it, or look like they’re behind. The show’s host is asking for submissions on her website, to get feedback from “you out there” on what people think of the situation. There will be a summary on tomorrow’s show.

She flips open her laptop, navigates to the website, and begins a submission.

Well, I think it’s disgusting! here’s the police, trying to do something good, get rid of the weirdos that ppl the entire internet, and what does this guy do? he just makes their job harder! stupid. i dont care if what their doing can be faked…everything can be faked…he needs to get over himself and they need to arrest him so they can get on with their jobs, maybe if we give the police the ability to collect all the stuff from the internet, they can track this guy down and make ppl like him stop and then we can finally be safe!!

She slaps her laptop closed and walks off. Nicnus’ brother sits by his computer, thinking about hiding. She’s in that mood again. Ah, well, it’ll pass. He mouses around his system a bit, trying to find the program his brother prefers he use for chatting. Normally he would just text him, but his brother wouldn’t get back to him for hours in that case. He wonders breifly if Nicnus has got Facebook, but no, still no Facebook for Nicnus. Oh, there’s the program. Pidgin. What a stupid name. They should call it “geeky messaging application”. Actually, maybe he can rename it that, would make it easier to find…

He opens a chat with Nicnus and pastes a link to the video. Suddenly another window pops up. A chat with more than one person. Looks like his brothers’ friends.

* This chat is not secure

21:50 <brann> Woah, what is this?

21:52 <acklas> we were already discussing the video, so nicnus just brought you in here 🙂

21:53 <nicnus> brann: What did you think of the video?

21:53 <brann> g/f hates it.

21:54 <nicnus> suresure, would expect that

21:56 <jjdavis> nicnus: you rag on his SO too much

21:57 <nicnus> maybe

21:57 <brann> It’s a bit creepy.

21:58 <nicnus> brann: which is?

21:58 <brann> Well, all of it

21:58 <brann> the video is… but I think that’s more just a ploy or whatever

21:58 <brann> but, I don’t like the cops faking data for themselves either

22:00 <acklas> Who said the cops would fake data for themselves?

22:01 <brann> no one, but… seems the next logical step, no?

22:01 <brann> Not enough evidence on this guy? No problem, just make some and shove it in here. done

22:02 <jjdavis> holy crap…

22:03 <acklas> yeah. brann: I hope no one *else* thinks of that 😐

Jack is relaxing. His girlfriend is over, and she’s bubbling happily. He only sort of hears what she says. He’s just happy. Nothing has happened to him yet. If they were going to come after him, wouldn’t something have happened? Maybe not. Still, he’s happy for now.

More and more datacentres are finding the same sort of activity he found. One by one, they’re turning it off. If the FBI is snooping on their population, they won’t be for much longer. At least, not in the same way.

On a whim, he browses some of the groups where discussion is happening around the efforts to stop what most people are calling an ‘exploit’. One message in particular interests him. It seems that, hidden in the guts of some Omnibus bill about kittens, there is a section dedicated to increasing the online ‘wiretapping’ abilities of the FBI and other federal agencies. The mechanisms outlined are very suspiciously similar to what is already happening. If it becomes law, though, it won’t be hidden. The datacentres will be ordered to install this software on purpose.

His girlfriend has stopped talking. She’s looking over his shoulder. Wondering what’s up.

“Uh…” Will she even get it? If she does, will she care?

It doesn’t matter. He’s trying really hard. He’s not making assumptions about that anymore. He’ll tell her what’s going on.

He starts at the beginning, in the datacentre. He hasn’t told her before because it didn’t seem important, in light of their relationship trouble. Well, sure, maybe he should have mentioned it before now. No, nothing bad has happened yet. Maybe nothing will. Maybe it will become legal, he’ll be forced to re-install the software, and he can just pretend that’s it.

Yes, he does have a problem with what it seems the FBI is doing, even if it becomes legal. No, there’s nothing much he’s going to do about it. Why not? Because he’s a guest in this country and he wants to stay here. Because she’s here. Right, she’s not that interested in leaving. But can’t something be done? Spying seems icky. Yes, that’s her word, ‘icky’. Fine. Maybe. He’d really rather not stick his neck out and find out.

Well, wait and see for right now, that’s the plan. Maybe nothing will happen.