Monday, October 7, 2013

Sochi surveillance: Russia's FSB sees NSA's PRISM and raises it one with "Sorm;" can stop Olympic protests before they start by spying on gay athletes

Russia's security agency, the FSB, has initiated a "Sorm" program, described as the NSA's "PRISM" program, but even more intrusive, if that's possible.
     Ironically, journalists, Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan, experts on the Russian security services, probably had an easier time documenting the Russian government's spy initiative than journalists in the U.S. have had in busting the NSA because in Russia, dozens of open source technical documents were published on the Zakupki govern­ment procure­ment agency website, and public records of government oversight agencies were available, unlike in the U.S.
    As usual, The Guardian has the story:
     ...newly installed telephone and internet spying capabilities will give the FSB free rein to intercept any telephony or data traffic and even track the use of sensitive words or phrases mentioned in emails, webchats and on social media...
     ...earlier this year a leaflet from the US state department's bureau of diplomatic security warned anyone travelling to the Games to be extremely cautious with communications.
     "Business travellers should be particularly aware that trade secrets, negotiating positions, and other sensitive information may be taken and shared with competitors, counterparts, and/or Russian regulatory and legal entities," the document reads. The advice contains an extraordinary list of precautions for visitors who wish to ensure safe communications, such as removing batteries from phones when not in use and only travelling with "clean" devices...
     Yeah, try removing the battery from an iPhone or many newer Android phones.
     ...the FSB can access data without the provider ever knowing, meaning every phone call or internet communication can be logged. Although the NSA FSB technically requires a warrant to intercept a communication, it is not obliged to show it to anyone...
     Gee, now Russia is now copying the questionable legal techniques of American repression! How the worm turns.

But wait! There's more! Agence France-Presse adds:
...analysts said national telecom provider Rostelecom is installing DPI (deep packet inspection) systems on all its mobile networks, technology which will allow the FSB not only to monitor all traffic but also to filter it. 
The Guardian continued:
     ...At a rare FSB press conference this week, an official, Alexei Lavrishchev, denied security and surveillance at the Games would be excessive, and said that the London Olympics featured far more intrusive measures. "There, they even put CCTV cameras in, excuse me for saying it, the toilets," said Lavrishchev. "We are not taking this kind of measure."
     ...Another target may well be gay rights, likely to be one of the biggest issues of the Games. Putin has said that competitors who wear rainbow pins, for example, will not be arrested under the country's controversial new law that bans "homosexual propaganda". However, it is likely that any attempts to stage any kind of rally or gathering to support gay rights will be ruthlessly broken up by police, as has been the case on numerous occasions in Russian cities in the past. Using DPI, [Deep Packet Inspection] Russian authorities will be able to identify, tag and follow all visitors to the Olympics, both Russian and foreign, who are discussing gay issues, and possibly planning to organise protests.

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