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XMission's Ashdown Talks About NSA Snooping Hardware, Gag Orders
by Karl Bode 09:03AM Tuesday Jul 23 2013
As we noted recently, independent Utah ISP Xmission and its founder Pete Ashdown have been getting a lot of press lately for doing something that most ISPs can't be bothered to do: stand up for consumer privacy and against over-the-top NSA snooping. Now Buzzfeed has another interesting story, with Ashdown himself explaining about a specific time he couldn't fend off the NSA and had to install snooping gear on his company's network.

Click for full size
As Ashdown explains, the gear the NSA installed had no real limits to data collection, and he wasn't (and perhaps still isn't) technically allowed to talk about it with anyone:
quote:
I'm not sure it had any access to the internet, so they could manage it remotely, but if they requested that, we would have facilitated them. I’m sure it was just capturing the entire stream to hard disk for later analysis. After the initial install, they didn't come in again until it was removed. It was open ended. I called six months into it and said, "How long is this going to go on?" and they said, "I don’t know." It went on for nine months. If it were still there, I would have probably smashed it by now. There have been no [related] arrests that I have heard of.
Ashdown also again discusses the need for at least some transparency in this kind of snooping:
quote:
These programs that violate the Bill of Rights can continue because people can’t go out and say, "This is my experience, this is what happened to me, and I don’t think it is right." There is absolutely [a] need for secrecy when you are dealing with a criminal investigation. You don’t want to tip off criminals being monitored. But you can’t say, "You can never talk about this ever, for the rest of your life." The FISA court should be a public court, and documents should be sealed for a set period of time, [to] let people audit the actions later.
Other than perhaps Sonic.net and Nicholas Merrill's war on NSL gags, nobody in this industry is putting up much of a fight against the government's aggressive attempts to spy on everyone, all the time. Surely Ashdown has a lovely audit waiting for him down the line as a reward.

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HeadSpinning
MNSi Internet

join:2005-05-29
Windsor, ON
kudos:5

Gag order

I sure hope Pete isn't violating any rules by talking about it now.
--
MNSi Internet - »www.mnsi.net

morbo
Complete Your Transaction

join:2002-01-22
00000

Re: Gag order

He is likely thinking they can't arrest everyone. Maybe this will prompt other small business owners to speak up.

GlobalMind
Domino Dude, POWER Systems Guy
Premium
join:2001-10-29
Hollywood, FL

OH cool

So it was run on IBM x servers...nice.
MaynardKrebs
Heave Steve, for the good of the country
Premium
join:2009-06-17
kudos:4

Convenient 'voltage' spike

Somebody should have removed all XMission gear from the rack, and then had a UPS go 'haywire' and blast the NSA gear with 1MM volts @ 500A. Since XMission had no authorization to touch the NSA stuff, there'd be no way XMission would know (or care) if it was still operating - and apparently neither would the NSA until they came to collect their box.

The data they collected couldn't have been to 'urgent' if they had no outbound network comms. XMission should have run Wireshark to see what the NSA might have been sending home.
HeadSpinning
MNSi Internet

join:2005-05-29
Windsor, ON
kudos:5

Re: Convenient 'voltage' spike

said by MaynardKrebs:

Somebody should have removed all XMission gear from the rack, and then had a UPS go 'haywire' and blast the NSA gear with 1MM volts @ 500A. Since XMission had no authorization to touch the NSA stuff, there'd be no way XMission would know (or care) if it was still operating - and apparently neither would the NSA until they came to collect their box.

The data they collected couldn't have been to 'urgent' if they had no outbound network comms. XMission should have run Wireshark to see what the NSA might have been sending home.

As a general rule, never screw with these people. They lie for a living.
--
MNSi Internet - »www.mnsi.net
Joe12345678

join:2003-07-22
Des Plaines, IL

Re: Convenient 'voltage' spike

and they the NSA can blame that on some cleaning services company that used Illegal and uses that to shut Xmission down and take of all the gear.
biochemistry
Premium
join:2003-05-09
92361
Good way to get your car Jerry-rigged so that it plows over 100 mph into a telephone poll. And that actually happened.

GeekJedi
RF is Good For You
Premium
join:2001-06-21
Mukwonago, WI

Re: Convenient 'voltage' spike

double post

GeekJedi
RF is Good For You
Premium
join:2001-06-21
Mukwonago, WI

Re: Convenient 'voltage' spike

said by biochemistry:

Good way to get your car Jerry-rigged so that it plows over 100 mph into a telephone poll. And that actually happened.

[citation needed]
--
The goal of the broadcast engineer is to get all the meters on the transmitter to go as far to the right as possible!!

tc1uscg

join:2005-03-09
Saint Clair Shores, MI
said by MaynardKrebs:

Somebody should have removed all XMission gear from the rack, and then had a UPS go 'haywire' and blast the NSA gear with 1MM volts @ 500A. Since XMission had no authorization to touch the NSA stuff, there'd be no way XMission would know (or care) if it was still operating - and apparently neither would the NSA until they came to collect their box.

The data they collected couldn't have been to 'urgent' if they had no outbound network comms. XMission should have run Wireshark to see what the NSA might have been sending home.

Oops, the breaker somehow just popped and since we can't "touch" it, we didn't reset it. Sorry.
cablemanf250

join:2013-07-15

Our Lovable Goverment

Nice to see that Yahoo, stood up with De-Classifying the documents and now Xmission standing up for their customer's, if all company's would do this, it would put the government back in their place, Working for us.

ArrayList
netbus developer
Premium
join:2005-03-19
Evanston, IL

Re: Our Lovable Goverment

bullshit. these companies are just trying to save face. They have no obligations to their customers other than providing the service that is being paid for.
--
A sane approach to our federal budget: Ignore the tea party
rahvin112

join:2002-05-24
Sandy, UT

Re: Our Lovable Goverment

People have an obligation to their fellow man. People like you that think it's every man for himself are the people that will see humanity go extinct. Pete's a good guy and he's pointing out these NSLs are evil. Of course we knew that already because a guy had to sue the government just so he could tell his lawyer about the letter.

None of this data is being used for Terrorism. Of all the uses of the patriot act 99.9999% of them involve drugs and other ordinary crime, in fact as far as I know there hasn't been a single terrorism conviction related to the patriot act expansion of powers, but they sure are putting a lot of druggies in jail.

Some of us have been against the Patriot Act since the beginning, and some of us believe we have an obligation to society and our nation.

ArrayList
netbus developer
Premium
join:2005-03-19
Evanston, IL

Re: Our Lovable Goverment

humans have that obligation. Business has no humanity.

yaplej
Premium
join:2001-02-10
White City, OR

Re: Our Lovable Goverment

said by ArrayList:

humans have that obligation. Business has no humanity.

Business are run by humans. Some are reasonable and some are greedy **** wads. The larger the business more of the latter end up running it.

ArrayList
netbus developer
Premium
join:2005-03-19
Evanston, IL

Re: Our Lovable Goverment

Humans are cruel.