Documents Reveal That Microsoft Let NSA Bypass Its Customers' Encryption

MicrosoftMicrosoftNot that most of us have been inclined to trust Skype as a conduit for confidential information in recent years, but the latest treasure trove of revelations published by The Guardian reveal that Microsoft has given the National Security Agency the means to bypass encryption in its products, including Skype and Outlook. We can probably assume that other American companies have similar arrangements with the NSA, raising the likelihood that American software products and online services will rapidly lose popularity around the world as a consequence of their cozy relationship with the snoops.

Reports Glenn Greenwald and fellow journalists at The Guardian:

Microsoft has collaborated closely with US intelligence services to allow users' communications to be intercepted, including helping the National Security Agency to circumvent the company's own encryption, according to top-secret documents obtained by the Guardian.

The files provided by Edward Snowden illustrate the scale of co-operation between Silicon Valley and the intelligence agencies over the last three years. They also shed new light on the workings of the top-secret Prism program, which was disclosed by the Guardian and the Washington Post last month.

The documents show that:

• Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new Outlook.com portal;

• The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on Outlook.com, including Hotmail;

• The company worked with the FBI this year to allow the NSA easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide;

• Microsoft also worked with the FBI's Data Intercept Unit to "understand" potential issues with a feature in Outlook.com that allows users to create email aliases;

• In July last year, nine months after Microsoft bought Skype, the NSA boasted that a new capability had tripled the amount of Skype video calls being collected through Prism;

• Material collected through Prism is routinely shared with the FBI and CIA, with one NSA document describing the program as a "team sport".

Skype once had a reputation as a secure channel for communicating, but rumors have circulated ever since its acquisition by Microsoft that the company collaborated with the feds. The Guardian report would seem to confirm those rumors — and to suggest that to use a Microsft product is to share a party line with snoops employed by the United States goverment.

But other governments also spy, to a degree rivaling American efforts, and they probably lean on corporations based in their countries. Ultimately, commercial software with proprietary code might become anathema for anybody concerned about security. The greatest winner from these spying revelations may be open source products that can be scrutinized for backdoors and compromises by independent observers.

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  • Paul.||

    At this point in time, any communication product that uses any type of encryption that isn't absolutely open source should not be trusted. Not because open-source in inherently 'better', it's inherently open and the manufacturer can't sneak in a back door.

  • Metazoan||

    This.

  • Warrren||

    Heh. "Back door."

  • Stilgar||

    Not this. There have been quite a few cases of problems with crypto libraries themselves as well as the correct use of the routines in those libraries.

    In addition, it presupposes that it is impossible for a backdoor to be placed in the code. Code bases are large and not everyone is equally skilled in evaluating code and its ramfications on security.

    Finally, there need not be a "back door" in the traditional sense. All that is needed is to compromise the encryption enough that the eavesdropper is able to brute force what they capture in an acceptably short period of time.

    So... TRUST NO ONE

  • ||

    Um, no. You are of course correct that open source is no panacea when it comes to security but ceteris paribus it's still a better idea than most proprietary software.

  • Stilgar||

    The gist of Paul's orginal post is that no commercial product (no matter the country of origin) should be trusted and one should use free/open-source because it is "open" and a "manufacturer" can't sneak in a back door.

    My post was intended to dispell the myth that you are safe by using open source encryption. In fact, you may in fact be less safe if you end up using a broken implimentation.

    Again, the best policy is to TRUST NO ONE. Always start from that position and do your own internal risk/reward before transmitting your encrypted document/conversation.

  • Invisible Finger||

    The point is one should be changing their ID (or ID's) on a regular basis.

  • SweatingGin||

    Going pedant, it's not necessarily a back door, so much as leaking information out of other channels, to leak even a part of a key. It might even be things like the time it takes for comparisons (correct, true comparison takes longer. Incorrect ones short-circuit out and take less time, based on how much of the compared values were the same.)

    There was a lot of concern a few years ago that the NSA had back doors in OpenBSD's IPSEC stack. Seems like some bugs were found but not many back doors.

    The big thing is, with open source, there are plenty of people hoping to make themselves famous in that world by finding that big crypto bug. Might not be found immediately, but probably will. Once found in one spot, all are suspect.

  • Mr Whipple||

    There is no such thing as 100% anonymity and privacy. Which is why it is best to use layers, and only open-source that is non-profit. Android is open-source, but it is distributed by a for-profit company: Google. The government can go to Google and say, "this is a nice little company you have here, it would be a shame if something were to happen to it, like an anti-trust lawsuit, or something."

  • ||

    Yeah, I'm still not a freetard, but I was thinking the same thing.

    Somebody is pushing a new "secure replacement" for SMS, Hemlis, and I kind of guffawed when I read it wasn't open source.

    And it's already very much a security-for-convenience trade-off, but I'm increasingly thinking of leaving LastPass unless they switch to an open source or even merely "shared source" model. IMO there's no reason they can't give out their client source code and keep the server-side proprietary.

  • ||

    That somebody is a founder of Pirate Bay. They seem pretty willing to go to the mat to protect user privacy, but I was also surprised that it would only be at best partially open source (also that the interface will be ios7 inspired even on android devices)

  • ||

    I'm aware of him being the founder of TPB, but my concern is not with the trustworthiness of the developer, it's with the legal force that could be mustered against him -- especially since he already has a target on his back. (Also there are simply honest mistakes that he can make. See the recent DeCryptoCat debacle.)

    the interface will be ios7 inspired even on android devices

    HOLO OR GTFO

  • ||

    HOLO OR GTFO

    Yeah that last bit was a special gift just for you.

  • ||

    I appreciate that someone understands my part-sarcastic, part-earnest Android fanboyisms.

  • ||

    If only Google themselves would stick to their own UI guidelines. How fucking hard can it be to make Holo Dark options native? I guess they're too busy being evil and killing useful services like Reader.

  • Mr Whipple||

    What's wrong with OTR? It's basically the same people that gave us PGP.

    http://www.cypherpunks.ca/otr/

  • Mr Whipple||

    And there is also Giggerbot which is a project of Tor. Although I hear it is a little buggy at times.

  • ||

    You are not the only one to ask, and as of yet I haven't heard an answer.

  • PapayaSF||

    I'm really not sure how important encryption is, given what can be done with metadata and traffic analysis. If you really want to stay under the radar, plain text might be best. I mean, if you are emailing your old college chum who is now in Pakistan, yeah, the NSA will have your emails. But if the contents are unremarkable, it might not raise any flags. But if you are sending streams of encrypted data to Pakistan, I am sure that the NSA is going to be very interested in you.

  • ||

    I think as encryption becomes more widespread (as it hopefully will) encrypted data will become less remarkable.

    In fact I think that's an important reason to use encryption, even if you're not sending particularly sensitive information. If it were up to me even Reason would be served over HTTPS.

  • ||

    I assume you use HTTPS Everywhere?

  • Paul.||

    Encryption is incredibly widespread. If the NSA is actually catching data in midstream as suggested in an earlier post, the amount of encrypted traffic they're getting is mind boggling. Every SSL connection, every VPN between entities will be moving through those central fiber channels, and all that is encrypted to the hilt. Everyone doing any real business with a browser creates an SSL socket. I almost find it hard to believe that the NSA gets anything useful by snarfing packet traffic in that way.

  • David332||

    as Christopher implied I cant believe that a mother can get paid $7319 in one month on the internet. did you read this web link.. WWW.CNN13.COM

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    How delicious. This might just push NSA surveillance back into the realm of public interest.

  • ||

    That makes me so mad I'd like to shit in Bill Gates' pussy.

  • ||

    I can't believe MS was stupid enough to do this. Jesus Christ, how many customers did they just lose? They just admitted that there are exploitable back doors in their fucking software! That the government already knows how to use (and does) and now every hacker in the world knows it's there too and going to be trying to find and exploit it. Oops!

  • ||

    Really. This is amazingly, incredibly, inexcusably stupid.

  • ||

    Jesus Christ, how many customers did they just lose?

    Meh. Teh sheepz won't care. It makez them safe from teh tarroristz!

  • Stilgar||

    And when the National Security letter is delivered to Balmer what is he to do? What does he do when the AG says he will criminally sue the company in a secret kangeroo court which has the result of dissolving the company upon conviction?

    I do wish they had info on payments, if any, to the companies for their time and resources to provide these backdoors, etc.

  • ||

    Nice company you got there. Be a shame if anything was to happen to it.

  • SweatingGin||

    Meh, they don't even have to give the NSL letter to Balmer. Just figure out someone working on it at a high enough level to get things into the code and give it to them, with the threat that they can't even tell their boss.

    Damn, that sounds paranoid. And it's what they do for taking data. Hard to see why they couldn't use it for back doors.

  • Mike M.||

    Yeah, like Microsoft is ever going to tell the feds to fuck off. The government is their biggest customer!

    Some people around here desperately need to grow up and get a freaking clue.

  • Bryan C||

    This. Microsoft knows that they exist only at the pleasure of the US government. They can cooperate or be ended in any number of painful, expensive, and humiliating ways. It's a near certainty that Apple is doing the exact same thing.

    Open source projects could be infiltrated and subverted with only slightly more difficulty.

  • JW||

    That the government already knows how to use (and does) and now every hacker in the world knows it's there too and going to be trying to find and exploit it. Oops!

    I was thinking the same thing. Fucking hell.

  • PapayaSF||

    It might cost them some, but in general, if you are enough of a go-with-the-crowd type to use Windows in the first place, this will likely not make much difference.

  • sgs||

    " if you are enough of a go-with-the-crowd type to use Windows in the first place"

    This is just a patently moronic statement.

  • PapayaSF||

    That's pretty much the mindset of most corporate IT departments, and many Windows users.

  • GILMORE||

    Episiarch| 7.11.13 @ 8:09PM |#

    I can't believe MS was stupid enough to do this. Jesus Christ, how many customers did they just lose?

    I raised a similar concern below.

    The irony is that my company - which forces everyone to use 'secure' Outlook - just gave everyone a reminder never to use "unencrypted" info because of 'security risks'.

    They pay Microsoft millions in license fees for the security products. And MS hands over the encryption keys to the Gov. Seems like not exactly the most Good Faith behavior.

  • Gladstone||

    When did Greenwald and the Guardian start opposing corporations doing the bidding of the Government?

  • Warrren||

    Since they're under control by the wrong TOP. MEN.

  • affenkopf||

    Have you ever read Greenwald during the Bush years? He's no team red guy.

  • affenkopf||

    eh, team blue, easy to confuse

  • mad libertarian guy||

    I'm glad that I don't use anything Microsoft owned anymore (with the exception of the occasional Skype call to Brazil).

    That said, I don't have high hopes that Apple hasn't allowed this kind of access as well.

  • RBS||

    I think it's safe to assume all the major tech/internet companies have.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Only cronyism and steering away from a free market can result in the providers of the vast majority of communications around the world giving up the privacy of their customers.

    It's time we do something about government and its ability to commandeer my communications from those that provide their services to me.

  • ||

    I think these companies are going to pay a pretty stiff price for this, dude. Anyone whose business relies on some level of secrecy is going to have to think about what they want to do about this. The hackers know about the back door now. Even if the company wasn't concerned with the NSA seeing their shit, now they know there is a flat out way into their shit that tons of hackers will be attempting to find. And this isn't "deface your website" or "steal credit card numbers", this is "get access to our secret information and sell it to the highest bidder and we don't know until they come to market before us".

  • ||

    It's time we do something about government and its ability to commandeer my communications from those that provide their services to me.

    If only there was some document that limited the powers of government.

  • ||

    If only anybody would give a shit about such a document, were it to exist.

  • SugarFree||

    It's like written in ASCII. Who can even understand it?

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Old white dudes with pocket protection

  • Inigo M.||

    I heard there used to be a such a document, but our betters realized that the people who came up with it were a bunch of white men who lived a very long time ago and some of them were even slave owners! So the modern smart people who lead us wisely decided to throw the document out.

  • Agammamon||

    I'd say its doubly likely that Apple has allowed this kind of access. Apple is far more proprietary than MS.

  • PapayaSF||

    Eh, in some ways yes, in some ways no. And according to one of Snowden's slides, Apple didn't join PRISM until about five years after Microsoft.

  • ||

    And based on threats of lost sales Microsoft has a lot more incentive to play ball with the feds than does Apple.

  • sgs||

    Ok, I get it now, you're a stupid fucking apple fanboi.

    "Eh, in some ways yes, in some ways no"

    No stupid fucking Apple fanboi, just YES.

    "And according to one of Snowden's slides, Apple didn't join PRISM until about five years after Microsoft."

    Well that certainly has fuckall to do with them sharing our data.

  • John||

    http://blog.simplejustice.us/2.....px?ref=rss

    You want to read some massive stupid, here you go. This is a criminal defense lawyer in New York clutching his pearls over Glen Reynold's article about the problems with ciminalizing everything. That is right, a criminal defense attorney thinks Reynolds idea of making fewer things crimes is a horrible idea.

    Leftism really is a cancer on the brain. This guy has no problem watching the government fuck his clients because stopping them would require reducing the government's power. As low of an opinion as I have of liberals, even I would never have guessed that they are so depraved that even the ones on the front lines of the justice system you spend every day watching their clients get fucked for things ought not to be crimes consider the worship of government more important than doing anything to change the situation.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Is your vag itchy today?

  • fish_remote||

    You didn't just proposition John did you T o n y...err...I mean shreeky?

  • ||

    He isn't upset that the state would lose power. Read the linked posts. He doesn't think Reynold's solutions would do anything to help the problem.

    I suspect that this confuses issues, as curbing immunity for prosecutors is a longstanding idea that serves many palliative purposes, not the least of which is creating an incentive to not cheat the system by withholding Brady material, for example. But this offers no comfort to a defendant from a prosecutor charging 16 offenses stemming from an single course of conduct as long as the laws exist. Even if there was only qualified immunity, overcriminalization would protect the prosecutor. The crimes are on the books, pal, and there would be no wrong in charging them.

    con't

  • ||

    The problem with overcriminalization is overcriminalization. The problem is that we applaud our legislators for coming up with a knee-jerk legal fix for everything that ails us at any given moment. Ironically, there is even an "Aaron's Law" proposed by Rep. Zoe Lofgren, because no young person is allowed to die without a law being named after him.

    So the first step in "fixing" overcriminalization is to stop the political aggrandizement that comes with demanding/applauding a new law to solve every ill that appears in the morning paper. We live under the crushing burden of redundant and ill-conceived laws and regulations, and yet the fact that prosecutors use them suddenly shocks us?

    He says the other stuff is just a bandaid - the real problem is passing so goddamn many laws to begin with.

  • Bryan C||

    "But this offers no comfort to a defendant from a prosecutor charging 16 offenses stemming from an single course of conduct as long as the laws exist. Even if there was only qualified immunity, overcriminalization would protect the prosecutor. The crimes are on the books, pal, and there would be no wrong in charging them."

    Well, that's stupid. There obviously is a wrong in overcharging. Which is why prosecutors insist on having discretion about what charges they should bring and who they should prosecute.

    Except, of course when they prefer to pretend that they're helpless and blameless before the Law. Then it's all somebody else's fault.

    When was the last time prosecutors went to their bosses and demanded that these unjust and redundant laws be repealed? They enjoy considerable influence with legislators and law enforcement, but choose to make things worse, and not better.

  • Mike M.||

    Defense lawyers love the legal racket just as much as prosecutors. They get to fuck the people over on both ends.

  • ant1sthenes||

    "That is right, a criminal defense attorney thinks Reynolds idea of making fewer things crimes is a horrible idea."

    Is that supposed to be a shock? He as much of a material interest in over-criminalization as prison guards.

  • Jose Chung||

    Defense lawyers need clients, and clients need to be accused of crimes. Maybe it's the cynic in me, but having fewer things illegal means less need for defense lawyers.

  • Agammamon||

    OT: I got my first ever Emergency Message Service alert a couple of minutes ago.

    It was an Amber Alert

    For Tempe, AZ

    I live in Yuma, AZ - 3 hours away.

    Shit like this is why I got rid of my weather app - all the alerts were useless. Oh its going to be hot today? What a surprise! Oh there's a dust storm alert in Phoenix, who cares?

    Now I've got to dig through the internet to figure out how to turn this shit off.

  • ||

    If you're on Android and your phone is supported, AFAIK CM10.1 (I run CM10) let's you disable them.

    Of course it's probably not worth the effort to install it just for that.

  • Agammamon||

    I figured out how to disable it, at least the stuff it allows you to disable.

    I'm mostly pissed because everytime an update is pushed out to my phone it runs slower and I get more crashes - and I can't use the damn phone until I either allow the update or tell it to come back later, which it does, like 2 minutes later.

    Fething TwLauncher crashes about 50% of the time I do anything on my home page.
    WiFi is turning itself on even though settings are set for no-wifi, ever.

    Updates reinstall software I deleted.

    Fucking Sprintzone sends me messages for shit I don't want.

    I think for my next phone I may be going back to Verizon.

  • ||

    Fething TwLauncher crashes about 50% of the time I do anything on my home page.
    WiFi is turning itself on even though settings are set for no-wifi, ever.

    TouchWiz is literally worse than Hitler.

    And it is mostly Samsung's fault, not much to do with Sprint.

    PS What phone do you have? Back when I ran stock on my S3 it was ugly and bloated but it didn't crash.

  • Agammamon||

    Galaxy SII - skipped the SIII and was going to skip the SIV but there's no point now.

  • ||

    If I were in your situation I would definitely go on XDA and find a custom ROM, but YMMV.

    And all us cosmotarians hate SIV.

  • Agammamon||

    I may end up looking at the Nexus or something that only has base android on it and not any of the carrier custom UI and app crap.

  • ||

    I have a Galaxy Nexus running stock that I'm pretty happy with, although more RAM would be nice for less Chrome refreshes if I switch to something else and back so I'm curious to see how the next Nexus will look.

    I already went through that phase of life where recompiling my Linux kernel every where seemed like a good use of my time, so I didn't particularly want to deal with some 14-year-old's ELITED3TH420 Euroskank Jellybro 6.9 ROM or more preferably something like Cyanogen... although literally the only thing Cyanogen has that stock doesn't that I want last I checked was 180-degree screen rotation.

  • ||

    every whereweek

  • ||

    I already went through that phase of life where recompiling my Linux kernel every where seemed like a good use of my time

    Ha, been there, done that

    I didn't particularly want to deal with some 14-year-old's ELITED3TH420 Euroskank Jellybro 6.9 ROM

    Yeah, I'm not much for the "kangs" and "ROM kitchen" creations. Usually if I'm going to use something stock-based I will just get a ROM that's simply stock rooted, deodexed, and zipaligned.

    CyanogenMod is quite professional, though, and strives to be of good enough quality that an OEM would consider shipping it instead of stock Android (unless they're Samsung or HTC and using TouchWiz or Sense, respectively). AFAIK a decent number of CM patches are merged upstream.

  • PapayaSF||

    Get an iPhone. (Ducks and runs....)

  • ||

    BOOOOOOO iShill!

    /unjerk: I would never use an iPhone, but I don't particularly care if other people do. Though I like to give my brother shit about it (in his defense, he works at a crApple store).

  • Agammamon||

    I will never get an Iphone - no expandable memory and you have to root it just to use non-store apps.

    Both are what killed my excitement for the first one and nothing's changed since.

  • PapayaSF||

    I barely use App Store apps, so that doesn't matter to me. Expandable memory: meh. All design involves trade-offs. I get a dependable phone that gets email and surfs the web just fine, you get something more flexible but crashy.

    It's a 3GS that I've had for years. The only issue is that the battery doesn't last like it used to. I'll replace it with whatever comes out next.

  • Agammamon||

    The crashy thing is the carriers fault, not android.

    I need the expandable memory because I usually (well, used to) carry a huge amount of stuff around - personnel list, camp layouts for Google Earth, tech manuals, pictures of equipment and sites, in addition to lot's of music and movies for long deployments.

    I like being able to swap out SD chips so I don't have to copy that stuff over and over with each mission/deployment.

  • Agammamon||

    Oh and a replaceable battery has also been essential.

  • Agammamon||

    Nowadays I only need a pre-paid burner that only does text and voice, but old habits die hard.

  • ||

    Oh and a replaceable battery has also been essential.

    This...in spades. Knowing I can always swap out for the extra battery as necessary means that I no longer stress out when my phone hits 45%.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Oh and a replaceable battery has also been essential.

    This is what made me avoid Apple products. Yeah, I can take it somewhere and get a new battery, but it should be a 3-second thing I can do on my own.

    There pros and cons with anything depending on personal preferences, but this is Apple's biggest con that affects every user regardless of personal preferences.

  • ||

    Admit it, Papaya, you have a hard enough time as a closeted libertarian in San Francisco, so you gotta sport something that'll help you fit in with the cool kids. ;P

  • ||

    I thought the cool kids in SF used iOS?

    Only the poors and the nerds use Android! /moron

  • PapayaSF||

    I've been a Mac user since about 1988. When I needed to get my first cellphone, an iPhone was the obvious choice.

    A mere phone will never help me fit with the cool kids here. After all, I don't hate the Kochs or whoever else is today's focus of the two-minute hate.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

  • Slammer||

    Fuck you, racist

  • Almanian!||

    That's cool. Note which campaign did NOT give free shit to people who need it.

    And fuck you, Shriek, you mendacious piece of shit.

  • ant1sthenes||

    I'd like to help you son, but you're too foreign to vote.

  • KDN||

    Out of fashion t-shirts go to poor people in Africa. Shocking news. Next up, Buzzfeed is going to show us all those pictures of Nigerians in Bruins 2013 Stanley Cup gear.

  • fish_remote||

    I really enjoy my 2012 Detroit Tigers World Series Champion T.

    What does your libertarian purity test results say about uncoerced charity you useless fuckwit!?

  • Slammer||

  • ||

    This is both a big deal and overblown all at the same time.

    YES, you can kill your dog pretty quickly given the right circumstances.

    OTOH, it's dependent on car color, window tinting, direct sunlight, airflow through the vehicle...

    Give a moron a little knowledge and they think they can dictate the actions of others based upon good intentions and the belief they know what the fuck they're talking about. They usually don't.

  • ||

    Case in point.

    "Many people do not realize how quickly cars heat up, people think its OK to leave your dog in a car for just a few minutes," Dr. Louise Murray, vice president of the ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital, told Yahoo! Shine. Murray, who is also a veterinarian specializing in internal medicine, says cracking the windows won't make a difference, and the vehicle can also become dangerously hot on an overcast day.

    According to Petfinder, on a day when it's about 70 degrees, the temperature inside a parked car can rise 40 degrees in an hour—mostly during the first 30 minutes. And it may not matter if the windows are cracked or the car is in the shade. The Chicago Tribune reports that on an 85-degree day, the dashboard can heat up to 170 degrees in a mere 15 minutes.

    This is bullshit. They are dumbing it down for the lowest common denominator. My truck (tan), with the windows cracked 6 inches won't get above 85 degrees on a 70 degree day. I've tested it.

    Most idiots believe everything they are told, and feel the need to show the rest of the world what they know and how caring they are.

  • Almanian!||

    This. We're on an island, it stays in the 70's, it's not gotten over 80 in the car even leaving it in the sun.

    The Jeep is better, b/c its windows are almost vertical, so less sun gets in.

    But...fuck the busybodies. We left the dog in - she's here right now, doing just fine.

  • Sidd Finch||

    I know journalists are mostly idiots, but it's still amazing that she contacted animal people to answer questions about how fast stuff heats up.

  • feudalserf||

    "YES, you can kill your dog pretty quickly given the right circumstances."

    Just leave it near da police.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    This won't change much. Microsoft's client base of large corporations won't bat an eye at this. I can't see them going to Ubuntu because the NSA can backdoor their email.

    Meanwhile, the terrorists don't use Outlook . com

  • ||

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

  • ant1sthenes||

    True, given how much they pay NSA employees and contractors, I can't imagine any of them being tempted to abuse their position to engage in industrial espionage for hire.

  • Greg F||

    This won't change much. Microsoft's client base of large corporations won't bat an eye at this.

    Why would they? Large corporations don't use Outlook.com (which is a web email service). Outlook is MS's email client which is not the same as Outlook.com.

    Most medium and large corporations (and a significant number of small business) are going to host the email server on their corporate network which they have complete control over.

  • Agammamon||

    OT: What the heck is up with Steam 'trading cards'? I don't understand the point of them.

  • ||

    Same here.

  • ant1sthenes||

    It gives them an excuse not to work on Half Life 3.

  • ||

    Free money from Gabe. Sell them to people who gotta collect 'em all.

  • dinkster||

    Looks like they can be used for coupons and DLC. I'm in.

  • cavalier973||

    Speaking of Bill Gates:
    A young man had managed to get a particular girl at his school to go on a date with him. He wanted to do it up right, so he got a reservation at a very nice restaurant. When they arrived, the girl said she needed to see a guy about a wallaby, so the young man waited in the foyer. Who should happen to show up, but Bill Gates! Getting up his courage, the young man approached Bill and extended a hand.
    "You don't know me, Mr. Gates, but I am an admirer of yours. My name is Robert."
    "It's nice to meet you, Robert."
    "I wonder if you would be willing to do me a small favor?"
    "What is it you need?"
    "Well, I'm on a very important date tonight, and I wonder if you'd be willing to swing by my table at some point and say 'hello' to me like we're acquainted?"
    "Sure, I can do that."
    So, the girl finishes up in the powder room, the couple are seated, and are looking at the menu when Bill swings by.
    "Well, hey, there, Robert! How're you doing?" says Bill.
    "Shove off, Gates. Can't you see I'm busy?"

  • PapayaSF||

    I laughed.

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    It's the Corporations' fault. If they hadn't given an outlet for this information to exist in the first place, our poor Government Superiors wouldn't be forced against their will to collect it. They're the REAL victims.

    /huffpo

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    Attention citizen! We need you to help make the Panopticon stronger with a new app!

    In 2013, we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that established minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments.

    Your challenge is to create an application that integrates publicly-available enforcement data from the Wage and Hour Division and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for various industries with other publicly available consumer friendly data sets and consumer ratings web sites like Yelp and mapping tools like Google Maps. The application will help consumers locate such establishments and view their federal enforcement and violations history as well as read consumer reviews to help them decide where to spend their hard-earned wages. Not only can this compliance information be useful to consumers, it can likewise factor into employees’ decisions while job hunting.

    Meanwhile, the government plays three-card monte with the Abbottabad raid information, hide the ball with the limits (if any exist) of the NSA's domestic spying program, and shooting craps with who gets struck by drones.

  • Agammamon||

    You know, this could be useful. I'm looking for an employer who's cool with comp-time and lunch breaks. I'd prefer to work 4 10 hour days with little to no lunch break than 5, 8 hour ones with a long break in the middle.

  • Agammamon||

    You know, this could be useful. I'm looking for an employer who's cool with comp-time and lunch breaks. I'd prefer to work 4 10 hour days with little to no lunch break than 5, 8 hour ones with a long break in the middle - and this would point me to them (by listing their contempt for overtime regulations).

  • Jose Chung||

    I'm going to start sending encrypted copies of the Constitution to everyone in my address book on a daily basis and encourage everyone I know to do the same. At least we can give the bastards something educational to read.

  • juliusaugustus||

    The NSA is a private corporation so that is why it gets away with this stuff.

  • Sevo||

    juliusaugustus| 7.11.13 @ 11:39PM |#
    "The NSA is a private corporation so that is why it gets away with this stuff."

    Sarc or stupidity?

  • juliusaugustus||

    It is truth.

  • Ken Shultz||

    So what's the CIA's excuse?

    Or are they a private corporation, too?

  • juliusaugustus||

    The CIA is also a private corporation.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Are they going public anytime soon? 'cause that's an IPO where I might want to get in on the first day!

    Have their books been audited? What's their bottom line look like? EBITA?

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

  • Sevo||

    And I'll bet some 'actress' got busted for drugs or DUI in the last week!
    AT, you usually post info worth reading...

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

    I'll let you get back to the Royal Baby watch.

  • Guy Laguy||

  • R C Dean||

    We're a healthcare system, we encrypt frikkin' everything - hard drives, EZ email encryption option (just type [encrypt] anywhere in the message. Not sure what standard we use, and I'm sure there are "encryption" standards that the NSA has a master key for.

    My take: nothing is bulletproof, yet, although quantum encryption is close, (and I'm sure the NSA and its brethren are trying frantically to kill it). Of what's available, open source is better. I use PGP with anyone who is willing to put in the effort. I figure its my patriotic duty to burn as many NSA resources as I can by encrypting as much as I can.

    What shocks me is the way the collectivist totalitarians have won the battle over privacy (and damn near everything else. People just . . . accept everything they say. I had a conversation with a colleague the other day on the utter pointlessness of vehicle registration and driver licensing, the complete lack of any real benefit to these exercises, and the way everyone just falls in line and goes along. He had never thought about it, but by the time we were finished, I could tell he was looking at things a little differently.

    Bottom line . . . we're screwed. Tie into as many darknets and alternative systems as you can, because the big "public" systems of all kinds are doomed to collapse. Doomed by the intrusion of the Total State, which is itself doomed, and will take down vast swathes when it finally hits the rotors.

  • dinkster||

    Single photon quantum communication is unbreakable. There is hope...

  • Generic Stranger||

    Post from Ted S. complaining about the late brickbat in 3, 2, 1...

  • RBS||

    Maybe all the stupid finally broke Oliver's computer.

  • Ken Shultz||

    So they've got keys to everything we do in Skype and Outlook! Since they're only collecting metadata, I don't see what the fuss is all about.

    LOL

  • Jon Lester||

    Who actually uses Outlook?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Anybody with thousands of contacts to manage, who needs to synch easily *and securely* and who gets dozens of important emails every day.

  • KDN||

    Everyone working a desk job for a large company?

    I actually love Outlook, but I think anyone that's been forced to spend an extended period working with Lotus Notes would say the same.

  • Ken Shultz||

    The ability to turn emails into schedules is awesome.

    I've been a big fan of Outlook since Outlook 98--which was a free bug fix for Outlook 95. I guess there have always been better exchange servers, but as far as the front end goes, I think Outlook's the best thing Microsoft has ever done.

    ...at least I did until now.

  • Jon Lester||

    Must be an aesthetic thing, then. I haven't bothered with it since the '95 version, and I'm really not someone who feels at home in the corporate culture, either. I use Gmail for my main account, and Thunderbird for the mail from my own domain.

  • Michael||

    Who actually uses Outlook?

    I think a lot of people are confusing Outlook (the excellent email client) with Outlook.com (the newly rebranded Hotmail service). This duplicate branding is probably one of Microsoft's more notable marketing blunders.

    To answer your question, I use both and find the mail service to be quite good. The NSA hanky panky really has me disappointed and disturbed though.

  • Invisible Finger||

    raising the likelihood that American software products and online services will rapidly lose popularity around the world

    Which raises the likelihood of bailouts for these companies.

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