I think it’s time to start outsourcing our intelligence agencies (a misnomer if I ever saw one). Remember that post about the University of Pittsburgh bomb threats? Turns out the FBI doesn’t have any techomagic with which to fight back.
On Wednesday, April 18, at approximately 16:00 Eastern Time, U.S. Federal authorities removed a server from a colocation facility shared by Riseup Networks and May First/People Link in New York City. The seized server was operated by the European Counter Network (“ECN”), the oldest independent internet service provider in Europe, who, among many other things, provided an anonymous remailer service, Mixmaster, that was the target of an FBI investigation into the bomb threats against the University of Pittsburgh.
Isole Nella Rete
Riseup had a server seized by the US Federal Authorities
That’s right, the FBI apparently has no computer chops and they don’t care who knows it. Their response was a physical raid on an e-mail anonymizer (sort of) that doesn’t keep logs. What a bunch of freaking clowns. Think about how this appears to different audiences.
To the public, this is…well, probably invisible at best.
FBI seizes terrorist server run by commies.
Grateful American people throw candy and flowers at heroic agents.
To business owners,
It’s a clear signal to people that if you run a business and your server is in the US, the US can kill your business stone dead in a raid which may have nothing to do with you other than being co-hosted at a server farm. And people wonder why less business is going to the US.
To people who, against my better judgment, are in the know and still give a fuck,
From a technical point of view, their action is completely pointless. But from the social point of view, it works. They’re sending a loud and clear message: if you try to stand up to your rights, you WILL be trampled.
To the last point view previously unrepresented and to which I will give voice, the potential terrorists among whom I do not count myself, this is a horrendous display of weakness. They clearly lack the technical ability to catch the bomb threat-ener, and apparently have also failed to catch him with basic gumshoe work. You know, where you ask the U-Pitt students if they know anyone who’s been bragging about how they are sending bomb threats?
So this raid actually increases the likelihood that this method will be used again. It is an admission that the FBI is helpless to stop it. Which puts a rather nasty skew on the effort-risk-reward model of choice, as you’ll recall:
Why stop at the university level? Terrorism scales to large populations very well.
What I’m getting at is that any internet user could shut down Congress until one of the following things happen:
- Congress abandons that nice building in favor of a secret warehouse somewhere.
- He gets caught and tortured to death by the CIA in some Middle-Eastern country.
- Congress enacts onerous security theater and resumes meeting.
Two of those three could still be considered a “win” for the terrorist. And the effort-risk-reward tradeoff looks very favorable for the terrorist.
Hell, if I still gave a fuck I might have done it myself. But I maintain that giving a fuck leads to stress, weight gain, loss of sleep, decreased libido, and irreligiosity. As your e-Doctor, I don’t recommend it.
Option 2 now appears less likely. Similarly, with every bit of useless security theater, we are less safe.