[liberationtech] Details needed about monitoring and data retention in Syria

Jacob Appelbaum jacob at appelbaum.net
Tue Jan 10 13:33:06 PST 2012

On 01/10/2012 01:11 PM, Jillian C. York wrote:
> No, but it's certainly useful when putting the surveillance in
> perspective.  Just as many of the Egyptians who later accessed their files
> from State Security offices had never been detained or questioned, it's
> quite possible that much of Syria's surveillance is for surveillance's sake.

I imagine that the Narus systems likely running in Egypt will have in
impact in a number of years. Just the same as the snort IDS at the edge
of Syria. These are databases that over time become more and more
valuable. When smart people learn about them, smart people will do much
much scarier things than the original creators of these systems.

I think it's really important to keep perspective about perspective.

We're still around fifteen days away from a full year of revolution in
Egypt. I'm sure we haven't seen everything yet and I'm certain that what
we have seen, we probably don't understand very well. If the Egyptians
were using Narus or Cisco interception, would we know? I've been told
that the Cisco interception is used for arrests, so what do we make of that?

> Which is not to say the recommendations are wrong - they're not.  But the
> full picture includes both the reality of the surveillance systems and the
> reality of how authorities are using their capabilities.

Sure, I think we agree on the first point. Additionally, I'd add that
different authorities use their capabilities in myriad of ways.

We do not know the full reality, only the capabilities. By being
cautious, we're trying to mitigate many of the possibilities even in the
worst of actualities.

The irony is that for internet chatting and web browsing, I think we've
got an ironclad solution; where as for phones, we're basically all
doomed - from billing to content.

All the best,
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